Each year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated globally on March 8th. It celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as being a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The theme for IWD 2023 is #EmbraceEquity and aims to start conversations around why equal opportunities are no longer enough – and can in fact be exclusionary and limit people rather than being inclusive. One size doesn’t fit all. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging requires equitable action.
The difference between equity and equality
The words equity and equality are often used interchangeably. So, what’s the difference between them and why is it important to understand, acknowledge and value this?
Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
Once you understand the difference between equity and equality, it is easier to understand how important it is to furthering progress. Giving women equal rights is not enough on its own to tackle existing inequalities.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022 underlines how big those inequalities still are. According to its findings, it will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap. As crises are compounding, women’s workforce outcomes are suffering and the risk of global gender parity regression is growing.
The importance of workplace equity
Equity in the workplace hinges on equality, openness and belonging. Even diverse workplaces can still struggle to create a business that is completely free of bias and discrimination. But while prioritising equity takes hard work, research shows that there is real business benefit from creating an equitable workplace.
According to a report from McKinsey & Company, businesses with gender, ethnic and culturally diverse teams are more likely to financially outperform businesses that do not.
How L&D can support women in the workplace
Employers must take the initiative to support their female talent to help ensure that equality gaps are not widened further. Learning and development professionals have a big part to play in ensuring that progress continues to be made. Education is a vital took for breaking bias and challenging stereotypical views, behaviours and mindsets.
At Digital Bricks Learning, we’re proud to design and deliver training which helps educate and empower individuals and workplaces to embrace and celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion. Training which promotes the gender balance agenda and drives wider equity and equality initiatives within businesses.
From our extensive catalogue of trainings, we’re highlighting 4 courses for International Women’s Day that increase understanding and build skills to address the negative impacts of discrimination and inequality.
1. Unconscious Bias Training
One of the main obstacles to a diverse and inclusive workforce is unconscious bias. As a leader or manager, overcoming this is critical to the success of your business – for both your bottom line and company culture – and is key for creating an environment where everyone truly feels a sense of belonging and appreciation.
Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Bias is an ordinary, human tendency, but can have far-reaching consequences if certain individuals and groups are disadvantaged.
Gender bias is just one of many biases and can often be informed by stereotypes and outdated beliefs. In the workplace, this type of bias can often lead to men being favoured over women.
Our course explores the topic in more depth, with the inclusion of interactive activities designed to increase personal and company-wide awareness. It helps develop an awareness of our own individual biases and develops an understanding of the impact of unconscious bias in the modern workplace. We explore practical, realistic approaches for tackling unconscious bias at an organisational and individual level, and identify opportunities to promote best practice and change behaviours.
2. Gender Awareness Training
This course is a great starting point to strengthen your company’s commitment to managing your operations in a gender sensitive and inclusive way. Companies that better integrate gender in their operations, are better at attracting and retaining a more talented and innovative workforce.
The training creates awareness about the advantages of taking a gender inclusive approach for your company. It provides management and employees a space to explore key gender concepts, discover their unconscious gender biases and understand the business case for gender equality.
It explores what sexual harassment and discrimination can look like, as well as the consequences, and teaches bystander intervention and practical actions to help those who are targeted by sexual harassment.
The course provides a solid understanding of an employer’s obligation to create a discrimination-free workplace and the current legislation governing this.
3. Menopause Awareness Training
If you employ or work with women, it’s important that you are able to communicate with them and support them through menopause. Training provides an understanding of menopausal symptoms and how they can impact the working environment, how to have conversations with those going through the menopause, and what support to provide if required.
Our Menopause Awareness course teaches managers, team leaders, those in HR and employees how to have those difficult conversations around menopause. It provides an understanding of the laws that protect employers and employees around menopause, an overview of simple adjustments that can be made to accommodate those going through the menopause, and highlights supportive policies and guidance for organisations to implement.
4. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is vital to creating and maintaining a harmonious workplace. It’s important for employers to provide a space where all employees can thrive, both personally and professionally. Getting DEI right will help you attract better employees, leverage their full potential, and gain competitive advantage.
One critical mistake many organisations make is to treat DEI as a stand-alone topic. Instead, it must be linked to the company’s mission, vision and values. DEI training is part of this journey.
Our training looks at what DEI means in the workplace and in wider society. It highlights current legislation and explores discrimination, inequality and prejudice as well as values, attitudes and beliefs. It breaks down barriers and provides confidence in knowing how to deal with unacceptable behaviour to promote a healthy and inclusive working culture.
Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society and workplace’s DNA.
Gender inequities continue to hold women back, but positive change happens when we collectively stand up to discrimination.
Through workplace learning and development, you can help to support women and counteract the challenges they face – thereby creating real, tangible equity within your organisation.
Happy International Women’s Day! Together we can all #EmbraceEquity.
At Digital Bricks Learning, we are here to support organisations through learning and development to challenge bias, forge inclusive cultures and build more equitable workplaces. To find out more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org