By Taiwo Abiodun-Oni
It is the year 2023, and here we are on another International Women’s Day. The theme for this year happens to be ‘Embracing Equity,” and I for one have always been curious on the true meaning of equity between genders, so why don’t I apply one of the Bible’s biggest story-telling mechanisms: a parable!
Here we goI
International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women around the world and to acknowledge the ongoing struggle for gender equity. As we reflect on the progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done, it’s important to recognize that true equity requires more than just surface-level gestures and platitudes. We must embrace equity in all its forms, and work to create a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
To understand the importance of embracing equity, we can look to the metaphor of a garden. Just as a garden requires careful tending and nurturing in order to grow and flourish, so too does equity require deliberate effort and attention. If we neglect our garden, weeds will grow unchecked and choke out the plants we want to thrive. Similarly, if we neglect equity, systemic inequalities will continue to oppress marginalized groups and stifle their potential.
But it’s not enough to simply remove the weeds from our garden. We must also provide our plants with the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. In the same way, we must actively work to create a society that supports and uplifts all people, regardless of their gender, race, or any other characteristic.
One common misperception is that equity means treating everyone exactly the same. But in reality, true equity means recognizing that different people have different needs, and providing support accordingly. This is like a tailor who creates custom clothing for each individual customer, taking into account their unique body shape and preferences. By tailoring our support to the specific needs of each person, we can create a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
Of course, creating a truly equitable world is not an easy task. It requires a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths and to take action even when it’s difficult. This is like the process of pruning a tree. Sometimes, in order to encourage new growth and improve the health of the tree, we must cut away branches that are no longer serving their purpose. Similarly, in order to create a more equitable world, we must be willing to challenge the systems and structures that perpetuate inequality.
But just as pruning can be painful for the tree, so too can confronting systemic injustice be difficult for those in power. It requires a willingness to let go of old ways of thinking and to embrace new perspectives. This is like the process of shedding old skin, which is uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but ultimately necessary for growth and renewal.
Embracing equity is not just the responsibility of those who have been marginalized. It’s a responsibility that we all share, regardless of our gender, race, or any other characteristic. This is like the process of building a house, where we must focus on the underlying foundation as well as the walls and roof in order to create a stable and secure structure.
Creating a truly equitable world requires ongoing learning and growth. We must be willing to listen to the perspectives of those who have been marginalized, and to use our privilege to uplift their voices. This is like the process of composting, where we take organic matter that would otherwise go to waste and turn it into nutrient-rich soil that creates the conditions for new growth and abundance.
But just as composting takes time and patience, so too does creating equity. It requires a willingness to engage in uncomfortable conversations and to confront our own biases and privileges. This is like the process of kneading dough, where we must be willing to work the ingredients together, even when it feels sticky and messy.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us remember that true equity requires us to go beyond surface-level gestures and platitudes. We must be willing to put in the hard work and take meaningful action to create a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Just like tending to a garden, building a house, or making dough, creating equity requires patience, commitment, and a willingness to embrace discomfort and growth.
Let us also remember that achieving equity is not just a one-time event, but an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and attention. Like a garden that must be tended to regularly in order to thrive, we must remain vigilant and committed to the ongoing work of creating a more equitable world.
Happy International Women’s Day 2023.