Embracing equity at the workplace

On 8 March 2023, women around the world celebrated the International Women’s Day under the theme: “Embracing Equity”.

I find the theme timely, and all encompassing. For years women have been fighting for gender equality. In fact, one of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is to fight the systematic discrimination against women and girls in all parts of the world. The SDGs further seek to ensure that social mobility opportunities are open to girls and women to improve their economic conditions.

To some extent, societies have tried to address gender equality by ensuring women are given the same access to education (except for Afghanistan), resources, and employment, to mention a few. However, many societies have not embraced equity. So, what is equity? Many use equality and equity synonymously, but they are not similar. Equality is about creating the same access, opportunities, privileges, and resources for both women and men.

While equity on the other hand, acknowledges that everyone has individual specific needs, and they all did not have the same starting point. Therefore, resources and opportunities need to be provided to fit those specific needs or circumstances of that person or group, and in that way, all people can reach an equal and fair outcome.

Let me further illustrate the difference by this example. Imagine you have children, and both are hungry. Next to you is a bowl of various fruits. One of the children is allergic to bananas. If you gave both children bananas, you would have been fair and seen to have practised equality. Additionally, on a surface level, you would have been deemed to have satisfied their hunger. However, if you consider and recognise that the other child is allergic to bananas, and instead gave him/her an orange to satisfy the hunger, that would be deemed as equity.

Let us conceptualise the same term in the workplace. Many buildings predominantly have more women than men, however you will find fewer toilets for women. The lack of sufficient toilets for women, leads to overcrowding and hygiene problems. Some women have complained that they consistently deal with vaginal infections, due to hygienic challenges that emanate from overcrowded toilets. Therefore, an organisation that embraces equity, would for example access the gender ratios in the organisation, and make more toilets available for ladies, if the infrastructure allows for it.

However, there are other ways in which workplaces can embrace equity apart from infrastructural designs. Some Namibian organisations should review their maternity policies, as women, when on maternity leave, only receive the social security maternity benefit. They are not paid their full salaries for the three months. This practice is tantamount to discrimination, in my opinion, and needs to be relooked at.

I know Namibia has made great strides in embracing gender equality. The fact that we have a woman Vice President for the governing party and who most likely may become the party’s presidential candidate in the next elections is commendable. However, as a country we still have a long way to go to embrace and effect equity.

Embracing equity will require both men and women to reflect on what power and privileges they enjoy and use that influence to assistance people overlooked and disadvantaged. Company policies need to be developed and aligned to ensure fairness, diversity, inclusion, and equity.

*Morna Ikosa is a Senior Corporate Communications and Brand Reputation Strategist, CPRP, MA, AKA Fixer. To connect, send her a shout-out at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find her on LinkedIn.




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Last modified on Friday, 10 March 2023 18:06

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