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MEENAL

Choosing to challenge that equality is enough

On #IWD, I honour the women whose shoulders I stand on. They have shown me silver linings whilst letting me talk about the clouds (check out the poem) They have persevered through unfairness and discrimination, often with few resources, and have succeeded in making room for women like me to dare to try. Yet, as we look forward, it’s crucial that we not just repeat their slogans, but instead continue to build upon the momentum they initiated by constantly reassessing what it means to be undervalued, and how we can achieve real fairness. Today, I #choosetochallenge that equality is enough in a world where women still face unequal challenges.

Where equality is about everyone having the same access to opportunities, equity is an assurance that everyone has the resources they need to succeed at the same level. The theory that women can achieve equality is flawed. We need equity. Equitable is defined as ‘dealing fairly and equally with all concerned.’ This approach requires a hard look at everyone’s circumstances in detail, as the need for support and assistance will differ by person, community, gender, ethnicity, and more.

As illustrated in the image above (thanks Nishma Jethwa) while some groups may only need one box to see over the fence, others may need two or three to gain traction and agency. The work I do

Shiva Foundation, highlights the rude awakenings to the lack of equity for women, exacerbated even further for certain communities.

So how do we achieve equity for women?

  1. Work to understand the inherent challenges and barriers facing women in their professional and personal lives.
  2. Strive for education from the grassroots level upwards and give those who do not have a voice the right to be heard.
  3. Implement systems and policies that do not just cater for the majority, but rather provide targeted support.
  4. Aim for a qualitative distribution of wealth and define appropriate policies that reflect the realities women face today.
  5. Target unconscious bias by promoting inclusivity and diversity at all levels.

So, to mark #IWD, I #choosetochallenge current practice and pledge to work towards embedding equity for women in policies, in education and in day to day life.