February 19, 2023 | Sarah O'Flaherty
A Celebration of Women’s Achievements and a Call for Equity Over Equality
International Women's Day is celebrated every year on March 8th as a day to recognise and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. The aim of this campaign is to educate people on the difference between Equality and Equity and encourage societies to think about putting Equity on the top of the priorities list. The message is that Equality is no longer enough.
So what is the difference between Equality and Equity?
Well, if we look at the Etymology of both words, the root word they share is aequus, meaning “even” or “fair” or “equal” – which led to equity being from the Latin aequitas, and equality from aequalitas. Yet, despite these linguistic similarities, they are inherently different concepts and should be treated as such.
Equality = each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
Equity = recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome
Equality, by definition, ensures that everyone has an equal chance to succeed. However, this assumes that everyone starts from the same place, which is simply not the case for women. Women face numerous obstacles and challenges that limit their ability to succeed, such as the gender pay gap, discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment and lack of personal safety, and a lack of representation in leadership positions. These challenges create an unequal playing field, meaning that equal opportunities alone are not enough to ensure gender Equality. This is why the shift of mindset towards Equity is needed.
Belgium-based YouTuber Tamara Makoni, founder of Kazuri Consulting, explains Equity beautifully. She says “Imagine that you are babysitting two children, and they are hungry. You go to the fruit bowl, and you start to pick up two apples to give them to each child. However, you remember at the last moment that one of the children is allergic to apples. Instead, you reach for one apple and one banana, and that way you’re being fair,” explains Tamara. “You still give one piece of fruit to each child, but you’re also being equitable because you’re giving each child a legitimate way of satisfying their hunger. If you had gone for two apples, the child who’s allergic to the apple would on the surface have a way to satisfy their hunger, but they couldn’t do that without getting ill. In this way you’re being fair,”
So how do we go about achieving Equity for women? Here are some practical suggestions:
1. Address gender bias in the workplace
Gender bias and discrimination in the workplace can take many forms, from subtle discrimination to overt sexism. There is also a huge issue of women being unable to work due to unmanageable childcare costs. We need to address these biases and provide training and support within the workplace for women to be able to work to the best of their abilities.
2. Promote women in leadership positions
Encouraging women to be in positions of leadership, will redress the balance and also provide young women and girls with positive role models that are similar to them and they can relate with. This kind of representation is invaluable in encouraging young girls and women.
3. Education and training
Education is a key factor in determining someone’s opportunities and earning potential. Governments and organisations can do more to encourage women to pursue different career paths that may not have been typically “women’s jobs”, for example STEM fields.
4. Encourage men to get involved and be allies
Men are not the enemy! In fact we should be encouraging men to get involved in calling out gender biases when they see them, encouraging women around them in their careers etc, and us all working together to achieve a harmonious and balanced society and workplace.
By acknowledging the difference between these two concepts, working towards a shift in emphasis towards Equity, embracing our differences and championing women in society and the workplace, we can promote real change when it comes to gender rights.
WayfinderWoman is running an inclusive and entertaining event for International Women’s Day on the 10th March at 6:30pm at the Lansdowne Hotel, Eastbourne. It is a free event and we will be discussing these issues, have talks from inspiring women and lots of entertainment and fun! Please do come along and celebrate with us!
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WayfinderWoman is running an inclusive and entertaining event for International Women’s Day on the 10th March at 6:30pm at the Best Western Lansdowne Hotel, Eastbourne.
It is a free event and we will be discussing these issues, have talks from inspiring women and lots of entertainment and fun!
Please do come along and celebrate with us!