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#EmbraceEquity by Peni Jo Renner

International Women’s Day (IWD) has been celebrated worldwide since 1911. This year’s theme was #EmbraceEquity. I thought I was pretty certain I knew the definition of equality but I was less sure of how it compared with equity. 

According to the IWD site; 

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.

Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

So it appears that equity is equality’s more inclusive big sister. Equity embraces diversity. For example, a highly-skilled paraplegic is hired for her dream job. She is given fair compensation and benefits comparable to her colleagues. That’s equality. However, the workplace lacks ramps and elevators. It doesn’t even provide her with a properly-sized stall in the restroom. That’s the absence of equity.

The IWD site is filled with images of people striking the #EmbraceEquity pose. Diversity is celebrated and inclusion is demanded. But in 21st-century America, we still have a long way to go.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020, women made 83 cents for every dollar earned by men, and women of color earned even less.  

And misogyny, defined as dislike of, contempt for, and ingrained prejudice against women, is alive and well. The Blackburn Center reports some shocking statistics. Each year, “an estimated 10 million American women are physically abused by an intimate partner.  An average of 3 women are killed by an intimate partner in the U.S. each day” and approximately 417,270 women and girls are victims of rape.  Based on these numbers, it is evident that violence against women should be considered a hate crime. 

So the movement to #EmbraceEquity has never been more important.  I hope every woman is motivated to get involved, be it through activism, monetary support for causes like IWD or just treating others you encounter with decency. Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

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