Text on a purple background that reads "Embracing Equity at HYCU: Internation Women's Day 2023"

Embracing Equity at HYCU: International Women's Day 2023

March 8, 2023

Today marks the 112th International Women's Day (IWD)

which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around globe. Along with celebrating the achievements of women, it is an opportunity to highlight the ongoing and evolving struggle for women's rights and equality.

This year’s theme asks us to "Embrace Equity." It's a provocative theme that challenges societies, schools, and workplaces to move beyond the idea of equal opportunity alone and instead create opportunities that are inclusive.

But wait—aren't equity and equality pretty much the same thing?

Understanding the difference between equity and equality

Though equity and equality get used interchangeably, the two concepts have fundamental differences.

Let's start with equality. Societal and workplace reforms that are geared towards equality strive to give individuals or groups the same resources or opportunities. While it sounds nice in principle, policies that promote equality may unintentionally recreate the barriers they aspire to remove.

In the image below, you can see how equality—which provides the same resources to everyone—doesn't translate into fair outcomes. The person who already had the height advantage maintains that advantage, while the shortest spectator still has the same view as before stepping on the box.

Source: IISC

Equity, on the other hand, acknowledges that "people don't begin life in the same place, and that circumstances can make it more difficult for people to achieve the same goals." Changing circumstances often takes systemic change. To address inequities through systemic change, societies and workplaces need to recognize the historical and individual circumstances of marginalized groups, including women, people of color, disabled people, LGBTQ+, and other underserved communities.

In the workplace, embracing equity happens when employers "consider the historical and sociopolitical factors that affect opportunities and experiences so that policies, procedures and systems can help meet people's unique needs without one person or group having an unfair advantage over another," according to Gallup.

What does that mean in practice? Gender equity reforms can impact all aspects of work and often requires employers to question things in the workplace that feel banal and traditional.

Some examples of equity related questions include:

  • Hiring: Are certain application requirements like "leadership experience" unintentionally excluding women from consideration, since they have fewer opportunities for leadership roles in the first place?
  • Compensation: Are raises and promotions favoring certain groups of people?
  • Accommodations: Have certain policy changes, such as the end of working from home, disproportionately affected women?

Embracing Equity at HYCU

As a global company, HYCU has a diverse workforce. Luckily, everyone from the executive leadership team on down is committed to embracing equity.

Though we're taking time to celebrate #EmbracingEquity today, it's a year-round job here at HYCU. It's one reason why HYCU was named in the top 50 of America's Best Startup Employers by Forbes.

Equity doesn't mean the same thing for everyone, though. That's why, to celebrate IWD, we asked everyone in the company to answer the question, "What does equity mean to you?"

We'll be posting some of the answers we got in our social media feeds on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. To kick things off, though, be sure to check out this conversation on equity in the workplace between HYCU's CMO, Kelly Hopping, and Theresia Gouw, Founding Partner at Acrew Capital.

Join HYCU today in taking time to recognize the pioneering women who are challenging the norms, breaking down the barriers, and fighting for equitable workplaces across the globe.

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