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What does it take to embrace equity?

As Crossword celebrates International Women’s Day, Marketing Manager, Sam Tanner, reflects on the campaign theme Embracing Equity and what it takes for an organisation to embrace true inclusion and belonging for women in the corporate world.

Today I’m reminded about the number of times that I’ve been rounded up out of the blue with all of the other women in the office on International Women’s Day (IWD) and told to smile for a photo. Those photos will have been posted on LinkedIn with a line about how the company values its female employees, and the moment immediately forgotten as everyone gets back to work.

It’s easy to pay lip service to yet another awareness campaign but doing so doesn’t change anything. Driving change requires education and action. So when Crossword’s Women’s Network organised a day of celebration for IWD, including a group discussion, one of our key intentions was to understand and work out ways we can actually make a difference and ensure we always enable a gender-inclusive workplace.

This year’s IWD campaign theme is ‘Embracing Equity’ and its aim ‘is to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren't enough’ and how ‘true inclusion and belonging require equitable action’.

We started by discussing the difference between gender equality and gender equity. Here’s what we learned:

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.

The IWD website demonstrates the difference nicely with this image.

Next we moved on to brainstorm steps Crossword could take to start building equity further into the company culture. We realised that to do so we’d need to actively initiate regular company-wide discussions about gender equity, and ensure it is always clear the company is open to learn and grow to fit the needs of our people.

We also noted that forging gender equity isn’t a fight for women alone. We must ALL challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, and make suggestions to help avoid bias and promote inclusion. We agreed that male allies in this journey are essential in the advancement of women.

Our CFO, Mary Dowd summed up the day beautifully when she said: “Embracing gender equity is a continuous journey for us and today’s session put us firmly on the right path. We’re deeply committed as an organisation to learn all we can and do all it takes to beat gender stereotypes and empower women”.

It certainly helps that our journey to embracing gender equity sits firmly within Crossword’s core values of openness, responsibility and learning, all of which enable and facilitate these kinds of conversations and make the change process easier. We are also incredibly fortunate to have our CEO, Tom Ilube, as chief ally and delighted he is being honoured tomorrow night as a finalist for the everywoman in Technology ‘Male Agent of Change’ award.

Indeed, we’ve got all of our fingers crossed for Tom for tomorrow night. And as International Women’s Day 2023 draws to a close, I’m feeling a renewed sense of purpose fueled by the inclusive company culture at Crossword. These things will stay with me long after the inevitable LinkedIn post. And that is definitely worth celebrating.


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