International Women’s Day – Jill Davis
Jill Davis, a freelance copywriter and marketer wrote this blog for International Women’s Day 2023. Over the last few years, she has experienced an unhealthily varied array of bodily malfunctions, including migraines, anxiety, immune issues, visual stress, thyroid problems, breast cancer and suspected Long Covid. Despite this, she still doesn’t remember to take her multivitamins. Jill is one of the 6.5 million adults in the UK providing unpaid care.
When Carrie asked me to write a blog for this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #embraceequity, I readily agreed. I assumed it would be a doddle, something I could knock out after dinner one day as an agreeable change from writing for clients.
Instead, I started and stopped. Again and again. If Carrie hadn’t reminded me of the impending deadline via every means possible, short of sending a carrier pigeon with a note threatening the future of Mint Aeros, I’d never have finished this blog.
Because #embraceequity wasn’t the nice, simple topic I’d hoped it would be.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EQUALITY AND EQUITY
Although I’d love to take credit for knowing the difference, I didn’t. Instead, I did what any self-respecting person does… I turned to Google. There, I found a definition I could actually get my head around: ‘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.’
If I understand this correctly, equality means giving everyone picking apples the same height ladder to use. Equity means giving us shorter people longer ladders so we can all reach the same lofty heights.
I’m a parent carer with health difficulties of my own (I’m not one to be outdone, even by my own kid). From an employment perspective, equality might involve giving everyone, including me, a PC, a chair, a desk and the hours between nine and five to get seven-and-a-half hours of work done. However, if I had a health flare-up or if my son had appointments, I’d never finish my work. Equity, for someone in my situation, would mean being empowered to work flexible hours, so I could down tools to rest or advocate for my son without guilt or fear of reprisal.
ARE WE EQUAL IN OUR EQUITY?
This year, International Women’s Day is helping us become more aware of how equity requires us to value and support differences in others.
However, we should also be mindful of whether we value and support differences in ourselves.
In my case, the simple answer is no. After much thought over the last few weeks, I have to concede that I beat myself up over any allowances or accommodations I need or simply don’t allow them at all.
I’ve bought glasses for my son who has visual stress, but not bought them for me.
If anyone had a migraine, I’d be the first to give them painkillers, dim the lights and leave them to rest. When I have one, I stay put at my desk until I fall asleep or can’t see straight.
If you had cancer, I’d encourage you to take lots of time to recover. I, however, sat on the floor a few days after my big op loading the washing machine one sock at a time.
#embraceequity has made me realise that I’m the queen of double standards.
EQUITY FOR EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOU!
If our kids learn from our example, I will convince my son that his differences are less worthy of support than other people’s. As he’s currently disabled, this could be a disastrous point of view.
So, this blog is my commitment to do better. To recognise my difficulties and accept support, even from myself. Will you do the same?
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