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What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

By Victoria Brown

By Victoria Brown

This week, Victoria reflects on International Women's Day and why Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there.

Wednesday 8th March was yet again a wonderful day for me, as I celebrated International Women’s Day with some of my favourite people.  There felt like a real buzz this year about it, from my nine year old little girl skipping to school telling me it was her day, to my colleagues in work sharing stories about the positive shift in culture over the past twenty years.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a worldwide celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It also serves as a call to action to accelerate gender equality. The theme of IWD this year is to embrace equity.  The concept being that Equality is the goal and Equity is the means to get there.  I was trying to explain this two my two daughters and the best way was to describe ‘Equality as giving everyone a shoe and Equity as giving everyone a shoe that fits.’

Equality implies that each individual or group of individuals has equal access to the same resources or opportunities.  Equity recognises that everyone’s situation is unique and allocates the precise resources and opportunities needed to achieve an equal outcome.  Equity acknowledges that people don’t begin life in the same place, and that circumstances can make it more difficult for people to achieve the same goals.

People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging requires equitable action.

Here are a few ideas of the difference we can make as employers;

  • Inclusive policies

Develop policies and procedures that promote inclusivity.  Flexible working, Diversity and inclusion training etc.

  • Provide resources for work life balance

Consider what resources your business could offer to truly achieve a work life balance.  Can you subsidise childcare, improve mental health wellbeing support, enhance family related pay/leave?

  • Equitable opportunities

The key to this is equitable not just equal.  Inequity affects many people, but most commonly historically it has marginalised communities such as women, people of colour, disabled people, the economically disadvantaged, and those from the LGBTQ+ community.  It is important that we ensure that everyone has a fair chance/opportunity to advance their career and develop professionally.  An example of this is recruitment, research suggests that men are considered for promotions based on their potential and women on their proven experience.  We need to ensure we evaluate on both relevant skills and potential.  We also need to provide coaching to ensure that woman proactively address both demonstrated performance and potential at interview.

  • Implement fair pay practices

Conduct regular pay equity analyses to ensure employees are being paid fairly for their work regardless of their sex or any other characteristic.

  • Develop a supportive culture

We need to create a culture of support and inclusivity.  Employees should feel comfortable sharing their experiences and challenges.  We should encourage employees form under-represented groups to speak up and share their perspectives and ensure that their voices are heard and respected in decision making processes.

When we embrace equity, we embrace diversity, and we embrace inclusion.  It’s not just a ‘nice to have’, it’s a must have! 

Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there.


As always, if you need any help with your HR or H&S then please do not hesitate to contact us at

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