As we approach international women’s day 2020, on 8th March, the theme for which is #EachForEqual, it’s important to understand what it stands for. In an evolving society where gender norms and violence against women are still rampant, it is important to pause and understand why do we celebrate this day? Is it just about women? Is it about feminism?
That is where the values of IWD come in. Let’s see what they are-
1. Justice: Justice here simply means being afforded the same equal rights and opportunities to women as men. Equal opportunity does not mean equal treatment. It means creating a level playing ground when all genders have a right to contribute and grow to the best of their abilities.
2. Dignity: Dignity refers to the idea that all people, irrespective of gender, age, caste & status, have the right to be valued, respected and to receive ethical treatment. This is where work needs to be done on unconscious bias, social conditioning, gender norms and stereotypes. Every one has a right to their opinion and ideas and to voice them. And the organisations need to create a work environment where all voices are heard.
3. Hope: Hope is the essence of life for all humans, looking forward to improvement and growth. Creating career progression policies and career paths that allow for employees of all genders to manage their professional and personal life stages and continue to grow in the organisation is key to this value.
4. Equality: Equality means all people have equal opportunities to make the most of their lives and talents without any discrimination based on their background, gender or status. it is the very core of IWD. Along the employee lifecycle stages- from resume shortlisting to hiring to increments, promotions, learning opportunities, employees from the entire spectrum of diversity should get equal opportunities.
5. Collaboration: IWD calls for collaboration of women across communal and geographical boundaries. Societal mindset and norms cannot change overnight. It requires collective efforts from both men and women, across families, organisations and governments.
6. Tenacity: IWD is the major day for rallying action, driving visibility and applauding women in a resolute & consistent way. Change will take time. It’s a slow burn and will require tenacity and resilience. Hence IWD is not once a year activity, but a celebration of what we do round the year to drive diversity and inclusion.
7. Appreciation: IWD celebrates the achievements of women from all walks of life. Every one likes to be recognised and appreciated for their contribution and achievements, at work and in personal life. Building a culture of recognition and appreciation, based on merit will help drive this value.
8. Respect: Respect for others and respect for self play a central part in forging gender equality. Respect every one- different genders, generations, people from different cultures, different functions, what have you. Every one has a role to play, and every one is a human being first before anything else.
9. Empathy: IWD calls for valuing diversity and caring for all without any biases to forge an inclusive and progressive world. Listen, be present. Build trust and empathy in the team and workplace. Extend support. Building empathy across all levels in the organisation will go a long way in building a cohesive, collaborative, inclusive workforce.
10. Forgiveness: Forgiveness for all the past wrongs is vital to establish inclusiveness under all forms of diversity. Norms and stereotypes have existed and will continue to. It’s only awareness and continued effort that will help bring about change.
These values are the bedrock foundation for an inclusive society. Let’s all join hands to imbibe these values in their true spirit and to celebrate the diversity with an open mind. Hence International Women’s day is not just one day, but a celebration of all the work done in driving the diversity agenda, and a promise of what to do next!