March 8th is International Women’s Day and the theme this year is Embracing Equity. If like me you were brought up with the fight for equality it may feel a little strange  to go to the campaign site for International Women’s Day and read that, ‘equal opportunities aren’t enough’. 

Time to do a bit more thinking and get my head around the thought that the fight for equality without embracing the concept of equity can be exclusionary and think more about why the shift to equity is important to campaign for.  My starting place was to ask a few basic questions. What is the difference between equality and equity? Why is it important?

The Difference between equality and equity.

Having looked through a range of online content I think this video from Susan K Gardner illustrates the difference well. It is a four minute watch and well worth the time if like me you want to be clear about the terminology. 

Why is it important?

It makes sense when you think about it doesn’t it. An underlaying premise of equality is that we are all starting from the same place and a single blanket intervention will lead to the same outcome for everyone. An underlying premise of equity is that we don’t all start from the same place and a single blanket intervention will not enable us all to arrive in the same place.

Equitable interventions do not come without their challenges however as they are based on the understanding that to achieve equality more resources may need to be focused on some women, usually those in more marginalised or disadvantaged groups. 

If we work from the perspective of equity we start to ask different and more nuanced questions about how women’s needs vary and what we need to do to achieve equality for everyone. We actively support the disproportionate allocation of resources to ensure that everyone arrives at the same place.

Another way of looking at this is to see equity as the process (what we need to do) to achieve the outcome of equality. 

If you want to find out more here’s the link to the information on the International Women’s Day website

Let’s all embrace equity!

Happy Women’s Day.