The 2023 International Women’s Day campaign theme is Embrace Equity. It calls on us all to play our part in promoting equity through the way we talk and act in our day-to-day lives.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, the organizers have called on us to “fully #EmbraceEquity.” They argue, “equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. Each one of us can actively support and embrace equity within our own sphere of influence.”
This year’s campaign makes it clear that we all have a role in bringing about greater equality and equity through the way we live our day-to-day lives. It states:
A good place to start is to identify our own unconscious bias. We all have unconscious biases, and they need to be recognized and acknowledged before they can be effectively avoided.
The language we use can be a reflection of these unconscious biases. Be careful of how you speak to and about others. Even unintentional stereotyping or careless language can cause offense, reinforce, or create the perception of inequality and make people feel vulnerable.
If you see or hear discriminatory language or behavior, speak up. If no one steps up to change the status quo, these unconscious biases will continue to characterize our workplaces.
Mentoring systems and targeted networking opportunities are a great way to support female staff and to counter the discrimination – whether conscious or unconscious – they face.
When it comes to recruitment and promotion, positive action can sometimes result in complaints about discriminatory or preferential treatment. To counter this type of complaint, any positive action must be proportionate. At the same time, workplace education sessions to explain why positive action is often necessary can help to head off such pushback.
These messages are not only important in the workplace. They are important in all aspects of our day-to-day lives. Parents and caregivers have a big role to play in stamping out discrimination and helping children to counter the biases that exist in our society. The language we use and the stories we tell will shape their interactions and our future world.
Read more about diversity topics on our blog: