International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration, recognizing women for their achievements without regard to divisions, and taking into account all intersections across demographics. IWD occurs each year on March 8. This year’s theme is about Embracing Equity. If you are curious about the difference between equality and equity, check out this great post on the IWD website.
According to IWD’s website, “When we embrace equity, we embrace diversity, and we embrace inclusion.” So we asked our associates, how will you embrace equity? Here is a sampling of their responses:
Duncan Angove, CEO (U.S.): Seeking to understand how best to embrace equity in the changing work environment is critical. Society has shifted significantly over the last few years, allowing much needed dialogue to begin. It is imperative that we listen; the way things were pre-pandemic wasn’t always working from an equity perspective, we now have a tremendous opportunity to move that conversation forward. We need to think about work in different ways to allow for individuals, regardless of intersectional demographic, to be successful. Offering associates the best way for them to work, including giving them the tools they need and the flexibility to work when best, are a few examples of things we need to further lean into. Equity is also about removing unconscious bias and roadblocks, and offering opportunities for activities and dialogue to help normalize these conversations. And possibly the most important is for all our leaders to display this behavior as a key to success.
Nathalie Carruthers, Chief Associate Success Officer (U.S.): As leaders, we need to continuously question what and how we are doing things, challenging each other to ensure our actions are inclusive and equitable. We must actively listen, hear and seek to understand other’s experiences. We must create awareness. Most of all, our actions speak louder than words – we must continuously strive to embrace and embed equity in the culture of our organizations. It must be our leadership call to action.
Amanda Oelschlegel, Vice President, Pre-Sales (U.S.): Mandating that DEI disciplines are woven into a culture is the easy part. Ensuring that our vision aligns to our values and that our actions affirm our commitment to values is where the complexity exists.
As a firm believer that “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast,” building a team that celebrates diversity, craves inclusion has resulted in equity being our biggest strength and greatest differentiator. As individuals, recognizing our own blind spots or allowing those blind spots to be illuminated in the spirit of authentic partnership has created a beautiful team culture that celebrates teammates growth and experiences.
We all come from different backgrounds, life experiences and have unique perspectives. By providing opportunities to crowdsource, brainstorm and build upon each other’s experiences results in us developing thoughtful and valuable thought leadership that resonates with our audiences and changes the world one conversation at a time.
Ari Sengupta, Senior Vice President, Global Professional Services (Singapore): As we celebrate International Women’s Day, the progress made and the barriers that were broken, it’s really important for us to understand where it all started and the simple truth that there is still a long way to go. My pledge is to assist the next generation in understanding that we all started with a different base, we are all different and what will bring us together is embracing equity. We need to widen the aperture and acknowledge that equality alone does not work for all of us. The process of intersectionality identifies the baselines and at least gives us a starting point for our work to provide equity. We should reflect on the progress that has been made, the work ahead of us, and on this wonderful day dedicated to celebrating the wonderful value of ALL women.
Chamundeswari Dasari, Lead Software Engineer (India): One way to embrace equity is to actively listen to and amplify the voices of women in all spaces, whether it’s in the workplace, at home, or in volunteer organizations. Additionally, being mindful of unconscious biases and actively working to challenge and overcome them can also help to promote equity for women.
Deepthi Madathil, Project Manager (India): Equity comes with allowing people the time and opportunity to participate and not be judgmental of their thoughts, allowing them to speak. Some need time to speak up. So, we must not rush before we have afforded everyone a chance to speak. It also helps to include men in the organization who are willing to not only support but sponsor women in their professional endeavors.
Dipty Sharma, Solution Director – Consulting (India): Equity makes me think of “Embrace your AWESOMENESS,” a quote from “Kung Fu Panda.” Valuing differences and supporting diversity while sharing the passion to provide opportunities that brings out AWESOMENESS in every member.
Kranthi Remala, Staff Software Engineer (India): All of us talk about equity and seek to find it as we walk around the world. The intent is everywhere but in reality, how do we practice it? It is natural for our unconscious bias to divert our momentary thinking of judging others as we step into an unknown zone – not so really grateful to our survival instincts or our cultural conditioning, in this aspect. The human race is yet to evolve largely, henceforth. I believe one of the ways it can be made possible is to learn how to live consciously. My wish would be that we could teach this in school at an early age which would go a long way to bring about future change. I plan to reach out to the community to bring about this change through various sectors and mediums.
Lydia-Ann “LA” Champeau, Vice President, NA Industrial Manufacturing and Distribution Vertical (U.S): I recently got to see the difference between Equity vs. Equality firsthand: My middle school son is a first-year orchestra Viola student. I was so impressed how 6th, 7th and 8th graders who had just started Viola seven months ago or have played since elementary school could all participate in the Stringathon for three middle schools. Levels 1-10 of each song in the program were posted on the large screen in the gym for all parents to see. Levels were identified based on skills. The budding musicians could participate as a group on the songs they had the skill level to participate in. It encouraged community, group participation, and friendly peer pressure to practice each night before the event in order to excel through levels to play in more of the songs than just a couple. This speaks to meeting people where they are, in a safe environment, friendly challenge, to enjoy the pleasure of learning a new skill and seeing the results!
Malavika Prakash, Associate Support Engineer (India): Embracing equity for me is ensuring every individual blossoms to their full potential, irrespective of how they identify themselves and that begins by embracing oneself 100%.
Mark Nordick, Senior Vice President – Logistics (U.S.): I will embrace equity by first acknowledging and understanding each person is unique with different challenges to overcome. Recognizing that groups of people face structural barriers that negatively impact them will then allow me – as a leader – to act to make progress to eliminate those barriers. Progress starts one step at a time.
Meg Paintel, Vice President, Business Development (U.S.): I will embrace equity by taking the time to learn about each of my team members to understand their individual needs and motivators to ensure I am providing the specific resources they each need in order to be successful.
Mrudula Inukonda, Project Director (India): This quote by DeRay McKesson resonates with me: “The difference between equity and equality is that equality is when everyone gets the same thing, and equity is when everyone gets the things they deserve.” Equity is the only acceptable goal! Happy International Women’s Day to all the wonderful women. You’re the best and you deserve the best! Keep rocking!
My Tran Le, Customer Success Partner (Australia): At this year’s International Women’s Day, I will be speaking at the Women in Projects Australia panel event in Sydney; and discussing what “embracing equity” means to me and helping promote equity for all. I believe Embracing Equity starts with us as an individual understanding that each and every one of us is unique, supporting one another, having empathy for one another, and building the mechanism for a fairer place for one another – this will help our next generation.
Nadia Cortes, Business Development Manager (U.S.): I will embrace equity by being aware of my surroundings and consider everyone in the room.
Nayana Kishore, Senior Manager – Support (India): I will embrace equity in my life by GIVING a VOICE and providing a non-judgmental listening ear to every person, I cross my path with, whether professionally or personally.
Nina Seth, Product Marketing Director (U.S.): I plan to continue to mentor women working in tech and particularly those looking to move into marketing/product marketing.
Odi Bosah, Senior Business Development Director (U.S.): I embrace equity by ensuring that, under my leadership, I strive for everyone to have an opportunity to succeed and grow. I have two exceptionally strong women leaders on my team that help me drive success within my global org. The most capable individuals will always be given a platform to shine regardless of their background, because that is the only way we guarantee the best outcomes!
Padmambik, Project Manager (India): Equity reminds me of nature; raindrops fall, flowers blossom to be seen and enjoyed, and the sun shines – but not everyone experiences these things the same way. Let’s provide everyone with equitable opportunity to learn, grow and succeed.
Santhi Kumari Nakkina, Project Director (India): Equity can only be embraced if people see, acknowledge and address differences in themselves and each other – basically treat others how you want to be treated by them and it returns.
Shanthi Mendu, Project Manager (India): Equality means providing the same to all, equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge, adjust imbalances and be fair. How can we embrace equity? By valuing and supporting difference. Reflecting on how we can all be part of the solution, not the problem and learn to listen. Think it. Be it. Do it. Value it. Truly embrace it. Wishing for a world where everyone is part of an equitable community.
Shashi Nandivada, Senior Project Manager (India): I really like this year’s IWD theme and the way it is summed up in this simple quote: “Equality is giving everyone shoes but equity means giving everyone a shoe that fits.” This is exactly what we need in the world right now. Each one of us has needs, but our needs are different. We must embrace them, appreciate them and return it in any way we can. And I am sure it will come back to us, in some form or the other! Happy IWD!
Stacey Ramirez, Program Director (U.S.): I understand the concept or definition of equity but to go about it in every environment of my life is where I am challenged. How do you go about it, how should I think, how do I make sure that I am thinking correctly, how do I make sure others understand why I am thinking this way, how do I affect change in the world? Because of these questions, my pledge is to keep thinking this way, always question if am I thinking correctly on equity, keep researching and reaching out to others on this. It starts with me changing my habits and ways of thinking. That is my pledge as a start. And I am sure this will grow to a bigger pledge – and a bigger and better me and world.
Swati Malik, Vice President, Cloud Services (India): Equity for me is celebrating uniqueness and empowering everyone to celebrate and leverage this uniqueness. We are all different, molded by our experiences, environment so on and so forth. To be non-judgmental and empower each person I come across in my journey of life to be themselves is my pledge on “How I Will Embrace Equity.”
Terry Turner, President – Retail (U.S.): All great leaders seek to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. This may often go against culture or outside the norm, this is often the place where the most amazing things happen. See the potential in another person, and especially women, and help them step into a role that even they themselves may have had doubts about. We are never more fulfilled in this life than when we help others and see them step into their potential.
Vera Batyalova, Business Development Director (Netherlands): I will be embracing equity in two ways. The first is to increase awareness of the concept of equity itself and how important it is to understand the differences between equity and equality. The second way is to listen. I want to understand and welcome different views and perspectives in my private and professional life.
Header photo is Blue Yonder associate Claudia Merino, Marketing Director (U.S.) embracing equity, this year’s theme photo.