‘Embrace Equity’– these two words put together are the powerful call to action of this year’s International Women’s Day. While it serves as a strong reminder to accept, support and champion gender fairness and impartiality, it also leads us to an important question of understanding the real essence of equity.
So where does one start from? At the foremost, we ought to understand the concept of equity and compare it to equality.
Equality, which is often equated to fairness and sameness, is based on the misconception that we all have the same needs and that the same solutions will work for everyone. Equity on the other hand is based on access and opportunity with the understanding that we each start with different advantages and disadvantages and thus have distinct needs to attain access and opportunity.
To put this into practice, we need to understand that people are individuals, and therefore they cannot be categorized, put into boxes or be given a universal solution. Ideally, individuals need to be given the right resources that they need and at the very time they need them.
When it comes to equity in the workplace, remuneration is an important aspect to start with. Organizations need to make sure that women workforce along with employees from other traditionally underrepresented backgrounds are remunerated in parity as compared to their male counterparts hired at the same position or role. In order to do so, the Human Resources department within organizations should continuously look at the internal data, analyze those figures and see if there are any pay gaps. And if there are any gaps, they should put in processes and fixes to address the issue on priority.
An aspect which is often limited to only women employees is that of maternity/parental leave. Embracing equity also means that organizations make it accessible and normalize it for people of all genders to take it up. This helps make sure that the burden of childcare does not fall unequally on mothers’ shoulders and acts as an impediment as they progress in their careers.
Even at a leadership level, there are many beneficial solutions that play a pivotal role in shifting the dial on women’s representation. This is where building communities and networks come to the forefront. There is an ever greater need to throw spotlight on women leaders across all fields. Communities bring more women together which in turn helps people, including their male counterparts to get aligned to larger causes in a harmonious manner.
Embracing equity is not only the right thing to do, but is also an approach which empowers businesses adopting diversity and inclusivity to be more innovative, adaptable, and successful in the long term.
I believe that this year’s International Women’s Day will be vital in elevating awareness on matters of equity and ushering in focused discussions around new ideas that could make a real difference, and it is yet another chance to make changes and give impetus to the much needed momentum for ensuring a more equitable world.
The article has been written by Orietta Mendez, Managing Partner and Chief Operations Officer of AVOW