#EmbraceEquity: International Women’s Day 2023
By Celeste Gable, Marketing Coordinator
March 8th, 2023 marks the 48th celebration of International Women’s Day. Established by the United Nations in 1977, March 8th is observed as an official holiday honoring women’s rights and world peace. The theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity. According to the International Women’s Day website, “the theme is to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren't enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.”
The words equity and equality are often used interchangeably but the difference between them is paramount for an inclusive future. Equality is defined as everyone being given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and distributes the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. Through equality, everyone receives the exact same thing, expecting people to be equal, but that assumes that everyone started out in the same place. With equity, we are able to recognize that people don’t begin life in the same place and situations can make it more difficult for people to achieve the same goals.
Inequity affects many people but historically marginalized communities such as women, people of color, disabled people, the economically disadvantaged, and the LGBTQ+ community feel the effects most deeply. The goal of equity is to change systematic and structural barriers that prohibit people’s ability to succeed. By establishing equity-based solutions, we can create a process for addressing imbalanced social systems.
Gender is intersectional and women as a group are truly diverse. Polices that benefit white women may not benefit women of color due to historical or current inequalities. A shift from gender equality to gender equity is essential for meaningful progress. Below are 3 ways to promote a more equitable workplace.
Prioritize wage equality!
- Despite progress over the years, racial and gender-based pay gaps still exist. Women earn only $0.82 for every $1.00 earned by a man. The disparity is even greater for women of color with African American women earning $0.60 and Latina women earning only $0.55 compared to their white, male counterparts. A good first step to tackling this gap in your workplace is to remove any stigma around discussing salary in the workplace. Employees should be able to share and compare salaries to others in similar roles to ensure everyone is being paid fairly.
Focus on equitable representation among the workforces.
- An organization that is serious about improving workplace equity should review the makeup of their workforce. A company-wide survey on workforce representation could be a helpful tool in gathering direct feedback on diversity at the employee level. Another way to address inequity is to note whether employees of color or women are receiving as many promotions or raises as their white, male coworkers.
Establish a DEIB council.
- Building an equitable workplace takes a lot of work. By appointing a group of employees to form a diversity or equity council can help keep progress organized. The group could also serve as an outlet for employees to share their thoughts on the way the organization can improve their equity efforts. Having an open and safe space for employees to share their thoughts on company culture and practices is an important part of the process of developing the employee experience and creating a truly equitable workplace.