On this International Women’s Day, it is important to recognise the distinction between equity and equality and the role that equity plays in achieving gender equality. This year’s International Women’s Day carries a very important message, “Embracing Equity,” with a symbol of a woman hugging herself.
Equality is often understood as treating everyone the same, regardless of their differences. While this is important, it overlooks the fact that individuals and communities face different challenges and barriers that prevent them from realising their full potential. Equity, on the other hand, recognizes these differences and seeks to address them by providing resources and opportunities that are tailored to each individual’s unique needs.
This is particularly relevant for women, who face systemic barriers to achieving gender equality. Women are more likely to experience poverty, violence, and discrimination than men, and they are underrepresented in leadership positions in all sectors of society. To achieve gender equality, we must address these systemic barriers by providing women with the resources, support, and opportunities they need to thrive.
Embracing equity means acknowledging the unique challenges and experiences of different groups of women and working to address them through targeted policies and initiatives. This includes addressing the pay gap, providing access to affordable childcare and parental leave, and combating gender-based violence and harassment.
Equity also means recognizing the intersectionality of women’s experiences and how different forms of discrimination and marginalization intersect to create unique barriers. This includes addressing the experiences of Indigenous women, women of colour, women with disabilities, and women from other marginalized communities.
By embracing equity, we can create a society where all women have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. On this International Women’s Day, let us commit to working towards this goal and building a more just and equitable world for all.