As we come together to honor women and recognize their talents and contributions, we reflect on the progress we have made toward gender equity on International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023—with a focus on #EmbraceEquity. It is an opportune moment to take stock of all that has been achieved, while acknowledging there is still much more work required for us to truly achieve equality between genders.
In the workplace, men continue to hold the lion’s share of leadership positions, despite women graduating with advanced degrees at higher rates compared to men.1 Regarding pay equity, the gap between the median wages of women to men remains 82 cents per dollar.2 Socially, we are regressing on women’s rights across the board. In Iran, a revolution is being led by girls and women to fight the attack on their most basic human rights: the right to choose, the right to free speech, and the right to protest. In Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to further restrict educational opportunities for girls and women. Even in the US, the legal right for women to access reproductive health care moved backwards with a recent Supreme Court decision.
When you consider the effect of each of these pieces, the gaps are alarming. At the current rate of progress, it will take over 100 years to reach full parity on key dimensions benchmarked by the World Economic Forum.3 Because much works remains, there are many opportunities we can take to move the needle toward gender parity. The focus needs to be every day, year-round, to continue to make progress towards true equity.
Advancing Gender Equality
Every person can make a difference in fighting gender inequalities. Whether it be in your own life, in the workplace, or within your circle of influence—every small step taken leaves an indelible mark on the path toward greater parity.
- If you identify as a woman, advocate for yourself. When you do, share your success stories with other women. Stories of obstacles you overcame, that new salary or bonus you had the courage to negotiate, or how you made a career pivot into a new field. The more we share stories of advocating for ourselves, the more normal it becomes.
- Advocate for other women: open those doors for which you have the key. Intentionally support women-owned businesses.
- Even stories of hardship, such as a boundary that is continually violated, or a physical or mental health challenge you might be experiencing, help us realize that we are not alone and should not undermine our ability to overcome difficulty.
- Women especially should be aware of Impostor Syndrome so we can put our best selves into the world. Shift problematic language into a new thought. You control your own thoughts and can pivot to a perspective of abundance. Recognize your accomplishments, reflect on your opportunities for gratitude, and practice self-compassion.
- If you identify as a man, be receptive to the stories and experiences of women. Look for opportunities that remove barriers or enable a woman’s progress. Advocate for women at every level.
- Read up on topics that discuss gender equity. Education is a critical part in achieving gender parity.
In the Workplace
- Join your company’s Women’s Employee Resource Group (ERG). At ProcureAbility, our leadership-supported ERG is focused on community building and advancing the women in our organization. Within your organization’s Women’s ERG, there are a world of opportunities that can enable you to find community with other women in your organization and grow personally and professionally.
- If your organization does not have a Women’s ERG, raise your hand and charter one yourself. Establish program goals, roles, initiatives, and appoint an executive sponsor.
- Implement Lean In Circles at your company. Check out these resources on how to implement Circles at your own workplace.
- Look for opportunities to host events that build community and provide a forum to share experiences. ProcureAbility recently co-hosted the Women in Procurement Dinner at the ProcureCon Indirect West Conference. Our event was held to celebrate the successes of women leaders in procurement and spark conversation for building what we have yet to accomplish. Our dialogue centered around being bold and “creating that which we wish to see in the world”. In sharing our stories, we draw strength and are reminded that we are not alone.
In the Community
- Support a non-profit that aligns with that which you wish to see in the world. Give your time and talents to organizations for which you are passionate.
- Spread awareness about the causes you care about. Invite others to join and serve with you. The more we share, the more action we can create toward closing the equity gap.
Anywhere, Any Time
- Champion, mentor, and sponsor: if you are in a position of influence, serve as a mentor or sponsor to a woman in your organization or community. You don’t have to be formally labeled with a title to positively impact someone’s life. The opportunity to provide guidance or enable another woman’s success can be pivotal to her life and career—and be incredibly rewarding for you.
- Regardless of your role, be an advocate for women. If you see discriminatory actions or diminutive language being used, call it out and address it head-on. Amplify the voices of women around you. Ensure they are heard, and they get a seat at the table. Create meaningful access to opportunities for women.
Commit to the Long Game
No matter how small, each action taken is a step towards progress. Keep speaking up, having conversations, and sharing stories to show your support for gender equity initiatives. Voices must also translate into action for those in position of influence and power: providing equal pay for equal work and equal access to all opportunities. It takes consistent effort from people of all genders to bridge the gaps that currently exist and reach true equality. Together we can create change if we stay committed to #EmbraceEquity throughout the year—not just one day in March.