When Savannah asked me to write a blog for International Women’s Day on the theme of Equity, it made me stop and reflect.
My realisation was that, as much as I would love to talk about what amazing things we do, despite our best intentions, we still have a long way to go – so this is a different blog.
On Wednesday, 8th March it is International Women’s Day, and the theme for 2023 is #EmbracingEquity
(For anyone wondering, it is International Men’s Day on the 19th of November)
Equality and Equity are different things. This year’s theme is about raising awareness of this and how we can all take action based on this, and how Equality can be exclusionary.
Let’s take the example from the IWD website
Spain were in the news recently when they announced a new law covering Menstrual Leave, giving the right to take 3 days’ leave for painful periods.
Spain is the first European Country to do this and join the following countries that have some kind of Menstrual Leave:
This is Equity in action – If you see someone saying, but I do not get Periods, and I do not get to have a day off, then either they are confusing Equity with Equality or a pillock.
At The People Experience Hub, we define Belonging as simply the ability to fit in without having to compromise your own values or identity.
So Equity makes real sense when we think about this; the ‘I statement’ here of I Belong is not about Equality at all; the fact that we have equal opportunities is great, but it is Equity that ensures we think about individual and group needs and how we design work for them.
We live in a world where organisations want to personalise the experience at work, and with this in mind, Equity is a must.
50% of our people identify as Women at The People Experience Hub, and when I reviewed what we do (Through this lens), I found we do a lot for Equality (Everyone gets these):
But I found that we do not do a lot that I would badge as equity for women; what we do is:
No one has to pay into a pension scheme – while this is probably equality, the reason for this was because, for years, I saw that paying in was a barrier to being in a pension, and historically this had a gender connotation.
We provide free period products in our office – I saw an expression a while ago, which was “Period Tax” and it stuck with me, if you have periods, then you have to pay more out. It was a simple step to ensure that we provided our employees with free period products
Enhanced Maternity Pay – I was challenged last year on our Maternity Pay Policy; I think the phrase that was used was, “It is a bit shit”. It took us less than 30 minutes to change the policy and increase the pay we offer.
This is not enough
Speaking with the team, I am glad that they all feel we support them, but we need to do more, and we need to be better.
I promise that we will be working on this over the next six months, we are a small business, but we have high aims and strong values, and these should lead us in the right direction.
We will look at what Equity means to all our people and explore this not just through Gender but through all aspects.
I will seek support from my network on what great equity looks like
We will implement an Equity team here to help us internally think about our needs as we grow
I will report back on what we have done in six months’ time
Personally, I would love to hear from you if you have advice or to hear your story and the best place to get me is probably on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickhr/
We are on a journey