International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s day!

“International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.”[1]

The theme for this year is Embracing Equity. To do this, we first need to understand what equity is and how this is different from equality. Equality is ensuring all people are treated the same.[2] What equality is missing, though, is consideration of context. It does not take into account historical and present-day barriers that exist, and make it much more difficult for people to make the most of their lives despite “equal opportunities”. Some examples of these barriers are racism, financial struggles, and discrimination, including the discrimination that comes from our patriarchal society (a society that values and prioritizes men over women). Equity, however, is something different. Equity involves giving people what they need to succeed, based on their personal needs and context. It involves fairness and justice.[3] Therefore, equality is a part of equity but not the whole picture.

There are many types of equity to strive for but, for today, we will focus on gender equity. Gender equity is “the process of allocating resources, programs, and decision making fairly to all genders without any discrimination on the basis of gender, and addressing any imbalances in the benefits available to people of different genders.”[4]

As mentioned, the theme this year is embracing equity. But, to embrace something does not always mean we are comfortable with it, especially initially. Biases and automatic judgements that were engrained from society and our upbringings often need to be challenged. For example, women were often socialized not to advocate for higher wages, work in the trades, or be comfortable with letting their needs be known. And people often have quick judgements that arise when they see a woman challenging these notions.

Celebrating International Women's Day

Women of all cultures and race uniting, raising the banner announcing International Women’s Day!

So, we need to actively challenge these engrained ideas. There are many ways to do this. You can start by asking yourself, “Would I think about this situation differently if the person involved identified as a man?” The more we are conscious about inequities and how we contribute to them, the more we can make a difference and set an example for those around us.

I encourage you to take some time today to “embrace” the women in your life and ask yourself, what can I do to help them (or myself) on this journey to equity?

Looking for more ways that you can call out inequities? Here are some ideas:

  • Ask the women in your lives if they feel they are being treated equitably.
  • Educate yourself about gender inequities.
  • Educate yourself about influential women in our world (I.e. human rights activists, leading scientists and artists, world leaders).
  • Get involved in International Women’s Day awareness and events.

Happy International Women’s Day of 2023!

[1] Quote taken from


[3] More in depth definition can be found at

[4] Definition taken from

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