Women have made progress in the workplace over the years, but we cannot wait 300 years for gender parity to be truly implemented. Especially when the way forward is already clearly marked. The solutions exist. What’s missing is the willingness and unified vision to make it happen. Although some consider International Women’s Day to be a gimmick, it reminds us to keep working towards a world that celebrates and fosters the talents of all.
Rather than send flowers and glittery emails this year, how about we implement policy changes, put more women in key positions, evolve our work cultures and develop new training programs instead? We want more than hashtags—we want equity!
The A Effect heartily agrees with the theme for International Women’s Day 2023: #EmbraceEquity. Now we’ve heard plenty about equality, but equity isn’t the same thing. that “each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities”. For example, when new positions are opened, every individual has an equal chance of being hired, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.
Equity, however, “recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome”. An example of that would be auditing the hiring process to ensure that interview questions don’t contain unconscious biases and won’t reward privilege.
Equity remains key to our continued advancement. There are many reasons to explain why women are being held back in the workplace. First, it is widely acknowledged that “high-level jobs [still] require extremely long hours, [traditionally] women’s devotion to others makes it impossible for them to put in those hours, and their careers suffer as a result.” In a 2012 survey, 73% of men and 85% of women agreed that this explains women’s stalled advancement.
Women are also held back by systemic barriers on the corporate ladder – whether it is a lack of support from managers, lack of acknowledgement of their accomplishments, or even being evaluated according to different criterias than men regarding the same job. Those same barriers are even more exarcerbated when it comes to women of colour!
Equity means more flexibility to accommodate the needs of female talent. It also means more mentorship, support and visibility at every step to ensure that women are being promoted at the same rate as men. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, equity also means not making women feel guilty for taking advantage of those opportunities.
There are myriad other ways to promote equity. So we invite you, women and men, on this International Women’s Day, to discover and explore the best solutions for achieving equity in your workplace. And consequently, achieving better retention rates, greater innovation, boosted profits and a future we can all thrive in.