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Why We’re Refusing to ‘Embrace Equity’ This International Women’s Day
Wednesday 8th March 2023 marks International Women’s Day. First celebrated in 1911, the day originally forms part of the wider movement for women’s rights to vote, work and be free of discrimination.
A quick search will tell you that this year’s theme is ‘Embrace Equity’ with everyone encouraged to share a hugging selfie. The idea is that this year we want to promote the difference between equality and equity.
Sounds great right? But what if I told you that the official theme set by the UN is actually DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality? It’s evidence-based and encompasses a tangible real-world issue that women and girls face worldwide. No selfies necessary.
Each year, International Women’s Day is co-opted and this year we’ve had enough.
What’s wrong with ‘Embrace Equity’?
Let’s start by saying that we obviously believe in embracing equity.
Individuals need different tools to overcome systemic barriers. And advancing the rights of women around the globe means recognising that we need the right tools to do it. This is where equity is essential.
But what we don’t need is to ‘embrace’ equity with a selfie on social media. Who does this serve?
It makes the fight for gender parity look warm and cosy. It frames the ongoing fight for women’s rights as something frivolous. It prioritises a catchy buzzword over impact. And, to be frank, it’s patronising.
Can you imagine any other cause telling people to hug themselves to a better future? No.
Because when we reduce the fight for women’s rights to a catchy phrase and hand gesture that lacks substance, we’re missing a vital opportunity to talk about the real-world impacts of a lack of equity.
We don’t need to embrace equity with a fluffy selfie. We need to continue to fight for it through ongoing action and education.
What the UN’s goals mean for women’s empowerment
That’s why we’re choosing to support the UN’s theme for International Women’s Day: DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality
It focuses attention on the digital skills gap between genders. And given that 259 million fewer women than men use the internet, there is a clear, gendered barrier to accessing digital skills.
This has lasting impacts on:
- which careers women can pursue,
- our contribution to the STEM fields that shape our future,
- And women’s access to essential information and services.
On top of this, the theme highlights the disparities in women’s safety online. Women and girls are more likely to experience harassment and violence in digital spaces, adding another barrier to access.
Based on research and evidence the UN’s theme has clear real-world impact and goals. It highlights a specific and important issue that impacts millions of women and girls worldwide.
Why we support DigitALL at Guider
Look, we’re all for educating people on the difference between equity and equality. We even put together a guide to help you.
But we’re also here for tangible, evidence-based initiatives that get results. The UN’s theme is specific, actionable and backed up by stats. That’s what we like to see.
Because here at Guider, we know how important it is for women to have the tools they need to upskill, find support and progress in their careers. And without essential digital skills and access to the internet, women and girls will be left behind.
We’re already using our tech to give access to mentoring and peer learning to women around the world. We believe in the power that mentoring plays in supporting not only digital upskilling but in breaking down systemic barriers for women across industries such as tech.
So, if you’re looking for ways to support closing the digital skills gap for women in 2023, here are 3 ways that mentoring can help:
- Digital upskillingOne benefit of mentoring is its ability to upskill at scale. We are far more likely to retain knowledge that’s been imparted by a person we trust. Making mentors essential for learning.Pairing people across your organisation that have key digital skills, with those that want to learn, is a fantastic way to share knowledge and develop your employees.
- Opening up access in techWe work with companies such as Reed to power mentoring programs that connect women in tech with the people they need to succeed.Mentoring creates pathways for women to network, plan their careers and grow in order to access promotions and other opportunities. Given the lack of representation for women across industries such as tech, it’s essential that we provide additional support.
- Creating specific, measurable pathways to successIt’s time to make supporting women specific and impactful. With mentoring software, you can create tailored program objectives and track progress all in one place.No more fluffy women’s empowerment goals. Set yourself up for success by mapping out a clear plan of how you’re going to support women and close the digital skills gap. Best of all you can measure, monitor and improve your program along the way.
📖 Find out more about some of our work supporting women through mentoring here 📖
In order to reach true gender parity in our lifetime, it’s essential that we address the digital skills gap. To do this, we need to create woman focused tech and provide access to essential digital skills.
That’s why this International Women’s Day, we’re supporting the UN’s official theme. We believe empowering women through tech is essential. Without it, we cannot create an equitable future for all.
Are you ready to join us?