Each year companies and organizations across the world celebrate International Women’s Day in an effort to bring awareness to the contributions of women in society, economics, culture and politics. The theme for 2023 is “Embrace Equity”. You’ll notice that the word used is equity, not equality. But why does it matter, and what is the difference?
Equity means giving resources specific to the needs of an individual or group, in order for them to achieve an outcome that is equal to others. Equity can also be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful.
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Equality means a group or individual is given the same resources and opportunities – without considering the outcome or what is actually required to be successful.
Often when equality is the end goal, it can end up causing exclusion, rather than inclusion – and it doesn’t target the problem. Not everyone starts out in the same place, so if all are given the same resources, some may not receive what they need to be successful.
Women often face different challenges when it comes to the workforce, and embracing equity can help ensure women are offered appropriate resources and opportunities in order to be as successful as their male counterparts.
“Equality focuses on providing all genders with equal opportunities, such as a woman’s right to vote. Yet, women often require more than a level playing field. They need to belong in a global culture that actively promotes and supports them in all aspects of their life, from education to the workplace to health.”Source: International Women’s Day
One very impactful way we can embrace equity is by amplifying opportunities to support charitable organizations focused on helping women. Women who struggle to meet their own basic needs such a shelter, food and hygiene products are even more disadvantaged and may require specific resources and support to meet these needs.
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How does giving to or volunteering with female-focused charities help us embrace and move toward gender equity? It gives women assistance with basic needs so they can begin to reach their aspirations. According to this report from Statistics Canada, women are more likely to live in low-income situations due to lower paying jobs or because they’re required to take care of family members. In addition, the report states that single mothers earn less than women in committed relationships and less than single fathers. Women who are caring for children on their own are often doing so on a lower income. For these reasons, it’s important that women – especially those living close to or below the poverty line – are given the support they need to have basic needs met so they too can experience a life that’s fulfilling.
Here are a few organizations you may wish to give to or get involved with:
- Black Mom’s Connection
- The Period Purse
- Native Women’s Association of Canada
- Equality Fund
- Fora: Network For Change
- Good to Be Good Foundation
- Black Women in Motion
- Tampon Tuesday
Education is the first step toward embracing gender equity. Knowing what equity is, why inequity exists and how to break down the barriers that stand in the way of potential will help us work toward a better future for all. Learn more about Women and Poverty with this Fact Sheet from the Canadian Women’s Foundation.