This year marks the 48th International Women’s Day, but how much closer are we to true equality and equity? The answer may surprise you.

The theme for International Women’s Day in 2023 is #EmbraceEquity. But what is equity? While it sounds similar to equality, there is an important distinction.

According to the United Nations, equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

For example, picture a group of people of different heights trying to look over a fence. Equality would be giving them all the same sized boxes to stand on, whether that means each person can see over the fence or not. Giving each person different-sized boxes – boxes that will allow each of them to see over the fence – is equity.

Unfortunately, even in 2023, we still have a long way to go before we can achieve both equality and equity. Did you know…

  • Even though the global gender gap had closed by 68.1 percent in 2022, it will still take 132 years to reach full parity (according to the Global Gender Gap Report).
  • East Asia and the Pacific (including Australia) has closed 69 percent of its overall gender gap, meaning we’ve only marginally increased our performance since 2021.
  • The share of women hired into leadership roles has steadily increased from 33.3 percent in 2016 to 36.9 percent in 2022. However, women have not been hired at equal rates across industries – on average, more women have been hired into leadership in industries where women were already highly represented.
  • Stress is four percent higher in women than in men, adding to the growing global health burden of mental and emotional disorders that is disproportionately affecting women’s health and wellbeing. 
  • Women continue to be overrepresented in education, health and welfare degree subjects and underrepresented in STEM fields. 
  • 30 percent of women worldwide who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner.
  • Of the estimated 55.7 million abortions that occurred worldwide each year between 2010 and 2014, just under half (or 25.1 million) were unsafe.
  • Globally, women do three times as much unpaid care and domestic work as men do.

So, with all of that in mind, how can we talk to our children about equality and equity to improve things in the future?

This International Women’s Day (and every day, for that matter) try raising the following talking points at the dinner table to see how your children see gender equality. They just might learn something – and so might you.

  • Do you think men and women are treated the same? Why, or why not?
  • If you have a different view to someone else at the table, can you understand their perspective? Why or why not?
  • Do you think you have experienced discrimination because of your gender?
  • How are men and women talked about online? How does that make you feel?
  • How do you feel when you listen to other examples of people with different experiences? (Books, movies and music are great resources here)
  • Parents, share examples of your own experiences with gender equality and equity
  • Talk about how even though different experiences may impact a person’s worldview, no one is necessarily right or wrong – understanding that and listening to one another is the only way to close the gap.


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