Katie Galgey, Cork City Comhairle na nOg
We all know how important gender equality is, but we need to start thinking about gender equity. Gender equity means that there are strategies and resources to help get women on a level playing field with men. We cannot have equality without equity.
A simple but effective way to introduce gender equity into our lives starts in the home. Showing boys as well as girls domestic abilities. This sounds like a very small task but we need to take baby steps to get it right. Not only will it introduce gender equity, it will tear down the stereotypes that people believe and have in the back of their minds.
When I think of the word equity, I do not think of a definition from a dictionary. I picture the future I could have, I picture the future my female friends can have, I picture how much better this world could be. Not only do I see the future generation of strong, talented and powerful women, I see the women of the past that gave their heart and soul to get us here today and women such as Nell McCafferty, Mary Kenny, Audre Lorde, and Angela Davis passing down that strength, power and determination to my generation, the future women of Ireland, the future women of the world
We need to start introducing gender equity sooner rather than later.
Not just for women and young women but for little girls who are dreamers with big lives ahead of them but get shut down. When I think of equity, I think of how my future children will grow up not hearing that women belong in the kitchen, that women cannot play sports or that women are worth nothing. They will grow up thinking that everyone belongs everywhere. No matter what.
Shantie Tedjai-Carroll, Menopause Yoga teacher of colour, Menopause Mentor and Women’s Wellness Advocate.
Unknowingly, equity has been in my life as a parent and also as a yoga teacher. This is where I practice equity the most, it’s how I raise my children, it’s how I teach my students. With everyone starting off with different gifts, how can we possibly navigate our journeys using the same tools?
And more importantly, the ‘finish line’ needs to be redefined also. How can I give both my children or even all my yoga students exactly the same treatment? We don’t even have the same goals.
I wonder that if I weren’t able to implement equity on this ‘small’ scale within my family and yoga community, would I have any business discussing equity on a larger, global scale?
Maybe this is why sometimes certain policies just don’t work. Perhaps the policy makers didn’t fully understand the meaning of what was needed. And this happens when there is little to no diversity amongst the policy makers.
Can we implement equity on a smaller scale first? Make it second nature. So that when we step out of our comfort zones, it becomes blatantly clear which persons or groups we are failing and we innately know which ‘equity-actions’ we must employ to raise up the collective.
So let’s practice equity within our families and communities to begin with. Let’s build more empathy, respect our differences and promote inclusive practices. Timely education for all age groups will help us overcome the challenges caused by cultural divides and damaging stereotypes. All within the walls of our homes. The work starts within ourselves.
Member of Cork City Comhairle Na nÓg, wishes to remain anonymous
‘Equity, refers to the manner in which individuals are treated, what is just and fair.’
I am a member of Cork city Comhairle Na nÓg. To me the topic of equity in our society is essential.
To start, what is the difference between Equity and Equality?
Equality the state of being equal, especially in rights and opportunities.
According to the official IWD website, ‘Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.’
As a female, young, queer person embracing equity is of utmost importance to me .
Each person has different needs and requires different resources to have access to all opportunities.
For example someone with a physical disability may need a mobility aid to get to the town centre, their friend who is able bodied doesn’t need a mobility aid but they live far away and require a bus service to get to the town centre.
Both people are going to the same town centre but both needed different resources to get there.
I am female, queer, a feminist and human rights activist so to me both equality and equity are hugely important.
Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community who has faced discrimination for centuries and who still faces discrimination to this day, we fight for equality in the workplace, society, etc.
But for LGBTQ people in different countries or areas, they require more than we do, this is equity. They may need extra or different support but we both have the end goal of equity and equality.
As I end I would like to wish everyone a Happy International Women’s Day 2023! and remind everyone To achieve Equality we need Equity.
Sharon Scanlan, Director and Consulting Lead in Grant Thornton in Cork
To me, equity means providing an environment where you can get the best out of people. In order to do this, we need to understand how and what will support an individual to reach their full potential - then, as managers/leaders, we need to respond with a bespoke plan to enable the success of each individual, this is equity.
Ellie Patterson, Cork City Comhairle na nOg
Embracing equity can be a misused and misunderstood term often confused with meaning equality. To put in simply equity is making sure people get access to the same opportunities. Equity acknowledges that people don’t begin in the same way in life and try accommodate for different circumstances taht can make a goal seem unachievable to reach.
Being a young woman in today’s climate means I’m interested with issues affecting my peers and other young people. Having a system that supports and priorities equity levels and unjust playing field in the lifes of many.
Historically men have always been regarded as superior being physically stronger and able while the woman’s role was in the home, more infuriatingly the kitchen acting as a servant. This meant that women had little opportunies for education, many never learning to read or write. Women weren’t able to take on a job in professions simply because they were never given the same opportunity as men.
Thankfully women’s rights have improved dramatically over the decades, women are now able to receive up to third level education, something unheard of not too long ago. Women now have access to courses that enable us to pursue previously male dominated careers that cater too the physical needs of women. Equity provided women with the chance to live their life without worry of oppression but rather revel in the fact that they will receive access to the same opportunities no matter the situation.
Equity provided freedom.
Patsy Atkinson, communications consultant
For me, equity means treating everyone with the same kindness, respect and humility as we would wish for ourselves.
Carla Olea, Customer Experience Designer Mexican community, Cork
Have access to the same opportunities and the same right to succeed and get equivalent rewards.
Cecilia Gómez, Intercultural Promoter, Community Activist, Mexican Community in Cork
I think that we can only achieve equity when we start compensating historical disadvantages between genders. By acknowledging that every individual needs different supports to access opportunities to succeed in life, we are not privileging someone, we are just being fair.
Anne Marie Crowley, Coach and Trainer amcrowleycoaching.com
Equity is a choice, a choice for individuals, couples, families and organisations. That choice is about creating and proactively supporting, the environment where people, all people, can be themselves fully and openly in a safe way. It’s about a space (and it has to be created, sustained and supported) where we can be our best selves (especially when we feel we are different) and know it is safe to do so because our colleagues on the team at work, or in our whole workplace, or in a couple or the family, respect, hold, support and proactively ensure we can do so every day and into the future. It is not an easy choice and it can be costly in terms of expense/investment, but it is worth it - we need diversity and we want inclusion, equity is the way to go.
Samah Mohammed, pharmacist
I am a Sudanese mother of three adorable kids all under seven years. I work as a locum pharmacist at community level in local pharmacies.
Equity means to me to have fair rights. I need to have some rights that suit my needs and beliefs and to have the right to practice those rights - so long as they do not interfere with other people’s rights .
Sharon Huggard, The Style Coach
My role uniquely combines personal styling and personal development to empower women to dress with style and confidence. It is a privilege that many of these young women do not have. Their voices are suppressed and disempowered in the process of producing the very same garments that we use as a tool to empower ourselves. Daily, these women have to contend with issues, e.g. equal pay, personal safety issues, sexual or physical harassment.
We can move the dial on achieving equity if we:
Tell Her Story with Dignity: The women who make our clothes are the hidden figures of the industry. While we are constantly bombarded with the glamorous images of fashion, her story is sealed behind the seams.
Give Her Access to A Formal Economy: Too many women work off the record as sub-contractors, which leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. By giving her access to the formal economy, the fashion industry can help her achieve economic empowerment.
Take A Stronger Stance in Fighting Gender Violence: Making efforts to change that culture is imperative in shifting the balance of power. Engaging the services of companies that condemn sexual violence and implement educational and training programs in the workplace.
Give Her Access to Affordable Childcare: Lack of quality and accessible childcare is a barrier for a woman’s effective and long-term participation at work. By giving her an opportunity to be a working mom, she can excel and have the possibility to grow into a leadership position, thus equalising the representation of women in economic and political arenas.
Participate in the Conscious Consumer Movement: As consumers of fashion, we must do our best to buy better, and support brands that publicly commit to women’s wellbeing.
Diana Estudiante, Licensing Administrator in Quest Software, Mexican Community in Cork
For me, ‘equity’ is a principle of justice where respect and equality of rights and obligations is practiced.
I’m a woman of colour living in my second adopted country. I’m mum to a little boy and currently work for a charitable organisation.
If we are serious about equity, we must firstly and truly see all human beings of equal value and worth.
Only then can we put equity into practice to provide individuals and communities with appropriate resources, opportunities and support they need in order to fulfil their highest potential.
Because this is so important, we must simultaneously address the underlying feeling of fear, lack and scarcity that are present and prevent equity from being applied effectively, or at all.
We must acknowledge the feelings of fear (and possibly resentment) the prospect of equity may trigger in some majority groups or an indigenous population. This results from a feeling of lack or scarcity which, whilst understandable, is actually unnecessary.
What people might not fully realise is that by giving people exactly what they need to be successful, you enable them to fulfil their highest potential and in turn give back to their community or adopted country. That is a beautiful gift that benefits everyone and adds to the rich and diverse tapestry of a nation.