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International Women’s Day 2023: #EmbraceEquity

08 March 2023 2 minute read
Written by Colette Cohen OBE

Another International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to reflect, to question whether the focus on equity, the gender pay gap and diversity over the last few years is really making a difference. There are so many more voices today, the conversations in offices, on the sports field and in Board rooms has definitely changed. We are seeing a difference, we are feeling a difference but its still not enough.

The door is opening for female inventors and engineers; the women who have potential to become inspiring leaders. We are celebrating their impact. Recognising their role in this new world.

Women like physicist and nanotechnologist Dr. Naomi Halas, who has made significant contributions to the development of nanoscale materials and their applications in biomedicine and energy; Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who led her team at the National Institutes of Health to develop the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine; Dr. Danielle Wood, who in 2018 became Director of the Space Enabled research group at MIT, developing space-based technologies to address the global challenge of climate change.

These women made an impact, and not just in their fields. They have become role models, empowering women from all walks of life to take their seat at the table, to unleash their full potential and change the world.

In the last five years, the proportion of women on executive boards in the UK energy sector has increased from 5% to 21%. Progress is being made, but we can’t afford to slow down – gender disparity is still an issue. We need to inspire change and build a world that’s not only equal, but that #EmbracesEquity.

We tend to settle on ‘equal opportunities’ as being the solution for gender-diversity. But there is something fundamental that organisations and individuals must consider – equity. Having a diverse culture isn’t just simply acknowledging difference, it’s recognising the different circumstances and acting on them for equal outcomes.

Organisations that adopt equity-based practices take into account the diverse lived experiences of individuals, with services and policies according to these differences. From an unbiased hiring process, gender-inclusive language, to fair pay, organisations have a responsibility to foster a culture which provides a level playing field for all. To allow more powerful women to forge positive change. And open the door to a more diverse workforce.

So, while we call out bias and strive for equality, let’s also promote equity. This year’s IWD theme is about the catalyst for diversity and inclusion; the steps companies can take to expedite a world that champions success for women.

I challenge you to look at your surroundings. Be it your organisation or social group, and think about how you can #EmbraceEquity for a better world. 

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