This International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023, we want to highlight why ‘equal opportunities are no longer enough’ and why we should all consider this year’s theme – #EmbraceEquity.
The word ‘equality’ is often used when highlighting important issues in the world and is based on the belief that everyone should have ‘equal opportunities’ for a happy life. Although this belief is very important and meant with good intent, it is somewhat flawed as it assumes everyone is the same to begin with. In reality, people don’t begin life in the same position and, instead, we should look towards equity as a better principle to progress society.
Equity vs. Equality
The words equity and equality are often used interchangeably. Yet, despite their similarities, both concepts are inherently different and the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign seeks to facilitate worldwide conversation about this important issue and its impact.
So, what’s the difference?
Equality means 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.
Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful. In other words, it’s not giving everyone exactly the same opportunities. If we give everyone the exact same opportunities expecting that will make people equal, it assumes that everyone started out in the same place and this is vastly inaccurate because everyone is different and has different needs.
The concept of fairness can therefore get tricky as it’s often assumed that ‘being fair’ means giving everybody the same opportunities and resources. Often, this has been taught when we were growing up, but ‘fairness’ only really works when we’re all the same to start out with.
For example, Imagine that you are looking after two children, and they are hungry. You start by picking up two apples to give to each child but you remember that one of the children is allergic to apples. Instead, you reach for one apple and one banana. You still give one piece of fruit to each child, but you’re 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 would, on the surface, have a way to satisfy their hunger but not without getting ill. However, it is still considered ‘fair’ as you’re giving each child an equal piece of fruit. But in order to be equitable, you must give the children something that is in line with their individual needs.
Equity at work
The success of a company often hinges on its ability to create an inclusive and equitable experience for colleagues. In fact, nearly 80% of the working population report that they want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, there are often obstacles that can get in the way.
Research shows that almost 60% of women regularly experience microaggressions at work. Additionally, for many women, finding meaningful support at is a major challenge. About 20% of women say they’re often the only woman in the room at work.
So, how can we help?
Knowing that these issues exist isn’t enough. We all need to take action and #EmbraceEquity on International Women’s Day and beyond.
One way we can do this is by learning about ‘unconscious bias’ and how this could impact colleague performance.
Women @ Methods
So that we can support colleagues and drive change in the most impactful way possible, we asked some of our lovely colleagues across the company about their own experiences and what advice they would give to other women this IWD as we aim to #EmbraceEquity.