Inclusion, Heard, Seen, Valued, Sought out. International Women’s Day 2023 is here. And today is the day to set the record straight about what we want to achieve as women.
This year’s theme, #EmbraceEquity, emphasizes our commitment to creating a society where individuals feel valued and respected with their voices heard.
But what does equity mean? And how can we make it part of our daily lives?
There is no one-size-fits-all definition of what equity means when it comes to addressing the needs of women in the workplace; every individual has their own perception and expectations. We must take several components into account: the ability to be heard and have an opinion; the right to challenge the status quo or raise concerns without hindrance; being seen and recognized for our achievements – regardless of gender; and feeling valued by having our opinions sought out.
All of this creates a space where women feel they can confidently contribute their unique perspectives. By creating such an inclusive climate, we can start to make real progress toward achieving gender equality.
However, to truly get to gender equality, we need to embrace equity. Meaning we (humans) must acknowledge that women and individuals that identify as female have been historically undervalued and marginalized. Everyone can point to instances of women overcoming society’s rules and expectations. We look to be inspired by leaders such as Serena Williams, Marie Curie, Michelle Obama, Jane Addams, and the honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Here in the US, we teach our daughters they can control their own destinies. They can run a business, become a global VP of Operations, drive a truck, win a gold medal, win a Nobel Prize, or write a book featured in Oprah’s Book Club. But, we don’t always tell them they must work harder, better, and faster than their peers while maintaining true to their core values.
Aspiring young women still face barriers. They experience a daily push-pull of societal norms and expectations. We must consider how it feels: living in a world where women are judged by different standards and have to work harder for recognition than their male counterparts.
But there is hope.
Effortless change can come about as society recognizes the power of women and makes an effort to increase visibility and representation, thus making us closer to true gender parity.
Rupi Kaur, Poet and Author, said, “I stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me thinking, “What can I do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can go further?”
How can we make the mountain taller? Through mentorship.
Elevating each other as women is one of the most effective ways to make a difference for the younger generations. We must create an environment where we can rely on and support each other instead of competing, judging, and criticizing.
By elevating each other, women in power can create a support network for those coming up behind us. By leading with our experiences and wisdom, we can empower younger generations to grow to their fullest potential. We can be the catalysts for lasting change.
We need to understand that our success is not just our own but also a collective victory of all the women who have been fighting for our rights in every corner of the world. We must learn to recognize our value, as well as respect and admire the accomplishments of others while working together collaboratively towards common goals.
On this International Women’s Day and beyond, let’s come together and commit to embracing equity, creating a community of trust and collaboration that elevates the voices of all women in society. Let’s strive to make the mountain of opportunity ever taller so those who follow us may go further than we ever could imagine!
With each passing day, we can get closer to true gender parity.