I think of my childhood as an only daughter whenever I think of what equity really means. My parents treated my four older brothers and me with love and respect. Our parents’ investment in us – and expectations of us – reflected our family values: they weren’t tied to being male or female. My brothers took pride in taking care of me and showed me how to be both confident and mindful of others. I learned that equity means getting the support I need to fully explore my potential, and that prepared me to become the woman I am today.
#EmbraceEquity is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. It is an invitation to take concrete actions to make our world more inclusive and give women and girls the agency to become the best versions of themselves. We embrace equity by first understanding that for a long time, gender determined how resources and opportunities were allocated. Acknowledging this is important, because it allows us to see the ways in which women and girls have been disadvantaged, and this knowledge can lead to creative solutions for different outcomes.
Embracing equity also means recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is not enough to level the playing field when all the players haven’t had the same preparation: the odds will still be unevenly stacked against those who were inadequately trained. It takes a flexible approach to make significant progress in undoing the gender-based stereotypes that have restricted women and girls for years. We need equity, not equality because equity admits that we didn’t all have the same starting point. Equity brings us closer to sustainably resolving social and gender injustice. I truly believe this is possible, especially when both men and women see the immense value in an equitable world and work together to dismantle the systems that fight it.
As we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women today, I hope we also give some thought to the ways we can #EmbraceEquity. Let’s create a society that gives women and girls a fair chance at success and room to flourish.
Happy International Women’s Day!
#IWD2023 #EmbraceEquity #KAEME