Having celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, we want to consider how employers maintain momentum and have a continuous focus on equity, diversity and inclusion all year round.
Not Just a One-Off Event
Whilst IWD has become the significant focus for celebration, March has, for many years, been recognised as ‘Women’s History Month’ with individuals and organisations using this time to pay particular attention to women’s achievements and to continue raising awareness of work still to be done.
This year, the IWD campaign theme was #EmbraceEquity, aimed at getting the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough – that although used interchangeably, equality and equity are not the same.
One definition the campaign uses really helps to provide that distinction:
- Equality is giving everyone a shoe.
- Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.
What Actions Can You Take?
The following are ideas that can be part of your celebrations for IWD itself, can be organised throughout March and beyond:
- Celebrate the accomplishments of women in your workplace to inspire further women to achieve their full potential.
- Showcase women throughout history to remind staff of the importance of their contribution and to encourage internal recognition of your own staff’s achievements.
- Fundraise for a female-focused charity or organisation.
- Create an equity, diversity and inclusion forum of staff and managers to provide regular discussion on key EDI topics and create momentum for actionable change.
International Women’s Day provides a key moment to celebrate women’s achievements in the workplace and showcase employer initiatives and support.
Using this month as the impetus, you can review your recruitment practices, promotion and development opportunities, to consider how equitable they really are. View them through the lens of the IWD example definition above.
Consider how your culture is reflective of this ambition – is equity role-modelled by senior leaders and line managers? Are your values in line with this?
Celebrating IWD is a great way for you to demonstrate the value all of your staff play in your organisation. Taking it beyond that day (and month) to promote further action – progressive policies, practices, benefits, and support mechanisms so women’s careers can thrive – will drive higher engagement and can lead to increased production and retention in your workplace – something every employer can get behind.