Equity Policy Analysis Checklist Primer


E Pluribus Unum was created on the belief that the United States must confront the issue of race head-on if we are to move forward as a country. This is especially true in the American South. 

At the same time, EPU’s work is race-focused but not race-exclusive. The work to reverse inequity, in all its forms, requires a variety of approaches and partners.

A key piece of our work is to help public officials and community leaders analyze their current and future policies and programs through equity lenses. Our data shows that when leaders  prioritize equity, communities as a whole are more prosperous. 

Do you have a policy or program that you want to assess for its effect on equity? If so, this toolkit is for you.

First, we’ll explain what an equity policy analysis is and who might want to use one.

Next, we’ll share a checklist to help you incorporate an equity analysis at each step of policy development. This will include tips and tricks to strengthen your policies by adding language regarding inequities. 

Finally, we’ll help you review your policies for places you may need to remove or edit language that could have unintended consequences on underserved communities.

We’ll also share contact information for how you can get free, direct support from EPU and its expert Senior policy advisors   

Equity Policy Analysis Checklist: The 5Ws

It is a tool to assess a policy or program for equity—or inequities. You can consider an equity policy analysis as part of your team’s equity “toolbox.” The goal of that toolbox is to build policies that always incorporate an equity perspective.

Anyone! This framework can be used by anyone that seeks to advance equity. That includes, but is not limited to, legislators and their staff, equity advocates, and community leaders. 

Collaboration is key here. We recommend that you ask multiple individuals who represent a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to review this checklist. Then, your answers will reflect diverse views, socioeconomic status, and values.

Early and often. That’s how you’ll be able to embed equity in the policy process from the beginning, rather than as an afterthought once a policy has been finalized.

Anywhere! Or, to make it more specific: any policy, program, or organization where you’re developing or examining policies that could impact individual, structural, or systemic inequities. Note: that could be a positive impact or a negative impact.

Here are some examples of common places you might use this: 

  • Federal policy creation
  • State policy creation
  • Local policy creation
  • Inside organizations examining policies that they would like to advance or implement

Heightened awareness, greater clarity, and increased collaboration. When you use an equity policy framework, you can: 

  • Normalize conversations on equity 
  • Activate analysis of equity on a current or future policy by examining benefits and burdens, resource allocation, data collection, stakeholder engagement, and feedback 
  • Enhance goal-setting by establishing clear outcomes and objectives
  • Operationalize change around equity by providing the tools to track change and evaluate progress on equity strategies

Equity Policy Analysis

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What Comes Next?

EPU’s mission is to build a more just, equitable, and inclusive South, uprooting barriers that have long divided the region by race and class. We believe our cities and towns will only thrive if they find a way to unite around a common purpose.

In fulfillment of our mission, EPU serves as a resource serves as to community leaders, policymakers, and advocates taking actionable steps to accelerate positive change. Here are ways you can contact us.