Empowerment through Equality: Embracing Equity on International Women's Day

Written by 
Dee Set Staff
8 March, 2023

International Women’s Day

Every year on March 8th, people all around the world celebrate International Women's Day (IWD) to honour the social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments of women. This year's International Women's Day has the subject "Embrace Equality," emphasising the significance of advancing gender equality in all spheres of life.

Embrace Equity

Equity means creating an inclusive world. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality:

  • Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
  • Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

When we #EmbraceEquity, we embrace diversity, and we embrace inclusion.

We #EmbraceEquity to forge harmony and unity, and to help drive success for all. Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there. Through the process of equity, we can reach equality.

Perspectives from the Dee Set Group

This IWD, we asked a range of fellow female colleagues about their experiences of equity, challenges with equality and their advice and support to women across the world.

Q: What advice would you give to young women who are navigating the challenges of achieving equity in society, and what are some of the key lessons you have learned throughout your own life journey?

A: I'd like to think that I am a strong-minded woman in my workplace. From being part of a team, to then leading that team has shown me that, as a woman you can achieve most things in life - if you put your mind to it. My advice for young women would be to be strong, confident, and always believe in yourself!

Karen Edwards - Dee Set, Fulfilment Section Manager

Q: How do you think we can promote gender equity and ensure that everyone has fair access to opportunities and resources, regardless of their gender?

A: Making a longer shortlist when recruiting can help ensure that a wider pool of candidates is considered, helping reduce the gender inequities that can arise from informal recruitment processes, especially in male-dominated industries. Additionally, it's important to address any gender pay gaps that may exist and use skills-based assessments and structured interviews to reduce any potential bias.

It's also important to prioritise work-life balance for both men and women, as this can benefit everyone and help create a more supportive and inclusive work environment. Gender equality in the workplace can be particularly challenging for women who have children. However, policies like shared parental leave and enabling working parents to share childcare more equally can help tackle this issue and promote greater gender equality in the workplace.

Another suggestion is to learn from exit interviews, which can provide valuable feedback on areas where the workplace may not be as inclusive as it could be.

Finally, having women mentor men can help break down gender barriers and build an inclusive workplace that is a supportive and welcoming environment for all employees.

Vanessa Bown – Tactical Solutions, Regional Sales Manager

Q: How can we raise awareness about the importance of gender equity and promote positive change in our society and beyond, both online and offline?

A: Listening and learning from others, as well as reflecting on personal experiences of discrimination and bias are essential steps towards promoting gender equity. It's also important to challenge assumptions about gender roles and seek out opportunities to raise awareness of the issue, this includes challenging negative views and supporting each other to break down gender norms. By doing so, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

Jennie Yearsley & Lauren Read - Dee Set Group, Learning & Development Specialist & Co-ordinator

Q: How do you think we can create a more inclusive culture that values diversity and promotes equity for all individuals, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or background?

It’s important that we embrace non-discriminatory basic practice as a business. A step forward in creating an inclusive culture is to make all our colleagues know that their voice matters, we should always be able to exercise our value - "Say it as it is", and in doing so feel safe without fear of repercussions. Managers must have an “open door” policy. Workers need to feel comfortable to speak their minds honestly and openly.

By listening to our colleagues speaking freely allows us to hear actively diverse points of view which empowers us as a business.

We have a fantastic tool in Blink that allows all our colleagues to be heard, supports the business to reach all our colleagues, share our goals, best practice and supports them to thrive as individuals which creates an inclusive culture.

Clair Worthington – Dee Set, Head of Nutmeg

Q: How can we celebrate and honour the achievements of women and girls, and recognise the contributions that they make to our communities and society as a whole, while also working to address systemic barriers that limit opportunities for women?

A: One way to empower women and young girls is by acknowledging and appreciating their accomplishments. This can be done by sharing their stories and experiences on our internal communications platforms such as Blink, CHAT and open forums. However it’s also great to capture this publicly across social media and through our website blog.

To break down systematic barriers, it’s important to promote positive female role models and highlight the valuable contributions they make. Positive role models play an essential role in inspiring young girls, demonstrating possibilities for success, guidance and support for achieving goals. It's also important to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes that can prevent women from reaching their full potential and limit their opportunities for growth and success, including breaking down gendered expectations around career paths, hobbies, and personal interests, whilst promoting women in traditionally male-dominated fields.

Chloe Priestley - Dee Set Group, Marketing & Communications Executive

What initiatives or programs do you think would be most effective in promoting gender equity and empowering women and girls, and how can we measure their impact?

There are several initiatives and programs that could be effective in promoting gender equity and empowering women and girls. These include:

  1. Equal Pay: One of the most important initiatives is to ensure that women are paid the same as men for the same work. This could be measured through an Equal Pay Report.
  2. Increased Flexible Working: Providing flexible working options, especially for women who may need time off due to menopause or monthly cycles, can help create a more inclusive workplace. This could be measured through employer satisfaction surveys, workload outputs, and staff retention.
  3. Access to Sanitary Provisions: Providing access to sanitary provisions in all restrooms, provided by the company, is essential to ensure that women are not excluded or marginalised in the workplace. This could be measured through employer satisfaction surveys and staff retention.
  4. Schemes to Promote Inclusivity: Creating schemes that promote inclusivity for women to move into higher positions or management roles can help create a more diverse and representative workplace. This could be measured through a report showing the percentage of male/female split by role/management zones.
  5. Access to Awareness/Inclusivity Sessions: Providing access to awareness and inclusivity sessions can help educate individuals and promote positive changes in behaviour and language. This could be measured through a schedule of events, attendance, and anonymous feedback questionnaires/quizzes to measure individuals' knowledge/understanding or ways they have changed behaviours/language.

Jeni O'Shaughnessy, Lesley Nethercott, Chelsea-May Marren, Kat Tanczos, Sally Hodgkinson, Tiff Segar, Laure Lynch and Alice Coughlan - Tactical Solutions Hub Team

Q: In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges that women face in achieving equity in society today, and how can we work together to address these challenges?

A: Today is a day to reflect on the challenges we have faced and still face as women and also to look at how far we have come…let’s celebrate how strong and determined we are!

There are many challenges that lots of women sadly still have to face within society today to feel equity and equality to their male peers and colleagues. From my own workplace experiences, I have always been so inspired by the strength of my female colleagues. I remember when I was just starting out in my career, when I was still studying at university, there was an area manager who worked for the retailer I worked for and when she would visit occasionally, I was so inspired by her strength and leadership skills to the male store managers she led. I knew that’s what I wanted to achieve and made me realise it was possible!

Now, working for Dee Set, I’ve progressed through the ranks after working hard and have now myself become an area manager after being inspired by many more women in this company just like I was when I first started out on my career journey! There are lots of females in strong, management positions within Dee Set which is evidence that this company and many others do support female equity, which is where I hope all of society can reach one day.

I think every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We can be so strong when we cheer each other on! ❤️

Rachel Wallace – Dee Set, Area Manager, Scotland

Q: How can we encourage more women to pursue leadership positions and roles of influence, and what can we do to support them in their personal and professional growth, while also addressing systemic barriers that limit opportunities for women?

A: I often think that the biggest limiting factor for women in leadership is the women themselves! Many women lack the personal confidence and have doubts about if can they cope with a leadership role, but when you think of the role many of us take in life, where we are expert at juggling so many things – running a home, looking after family, organising our friendship group activities, as well as working at a high level – we are eminently qualified to take on such positions.

Allowing yourself to explore opportunities that might be outside your comfort zone is so key to personal development, so don’t create your own barriers. Make sure you have people around you who will give you confidence, as well as honest feedback and accept that you will have to learn on the job. That is no different from anyone else and we all learn and grow by making mistakes but have the mentality that you will learn from these. Don’t be afraid to push against some of the barriers of “fitting in” and having to talk in a way that you might be uncomfortable with, as you have YOU to offer and all the qualities that brings.

In my experience, being a woman can give you a vital difference that creates a sense of balance and different thinking in a team. A team that will succeed and grow needs diverse characters and qualities that can confidently challenge each other but be brave enough to try new ideas and ways of working. When you look at great leaders, much of what they achieve is by asking great questions – it’s not about them being male or female, it’s about their EQ as well as their IQ. My counsel is to be brave, be curious, and back yourself as your team need you to break through these barriers if they are to really deliver and grow themselves.

Cathy Evans – Tactical Solutions, Managing Director

Equality opportunities aren’t enough!

Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. It’s not just something we say. It’s not just something we write about. It’s something we need to think about, know, value and embrace.

Accepting equity is striving for a future in which every person, regardless of gender, enjoys the same opportunities and experiences. It involves opposing societal structures and conventions that support inequality and acting to advance gender equality. We can create a more just and equitable world for everyone by taking action to embrace equity.

Happy International Women's Day!

Dee Set Logistics Ltd/Dee Set Confectionery Ltd, trading as Dee Set, registered in England, Scotland and Wales. Registered No: SC208421/04297287.Vat No: 896110414.