Motivational speaker Harriet Waley-Cohen discusses the IWD #EmbraceEquity theme
Motivational speaker Harriet Waley-Cohen discusses the International Women's Day 2023 theme of #EmbraceEquity.
"For #EmbraceEquity the self-hug pose embodies what it means to embrace, to open heartedly, enthusiastically, without reservation welcome and want something and move towards it...Equity is about fairness and leveling the playing field. And whilst equality might be the ultimate goal, equity is how we get there...One of the first steps towards creating equity and equality is acknowledging that the playing field is not level," explains Harriet.
"Equity means creating a fair and equal world. By recognizing and addressing the barriers, extra burdens, and disadvantages that certain people face because of their race, sex, sexuality, health, class, physical abilities, and more, it becomes possible to level the playing field," she says.
"I'm excited as we all move towards embracing equity. Because equity is how we get equality."
Watch Harriet's video here.
Exploring gender stereotyping
Harriet explains that a key factor often holding women back is gender stereotyping - a generalized perception about characteristics that women should possess. These stereotypes limit women's ability to develop their personal abilities, pursue professional careers, and make life choices. Harriet explores the consequences of gender stereotyping and discusses the concept of "aspirational misogyny" where men and boys' perceptions of women are fraught.
Harriet discusses a number of examples of gender stereotypes, such as 'women should be caregivers'; 'women should carry the mental load at home'; 'women should maintain a certain appearance'; and 'women should do the "softer things" in the office such as taking minutes, making tea, and organizing social events'.
"Women have so much more on their plate, yet this is not recognized in terms of opportunity. All of these gender stereotypes create so much pressure on women," says Harriet. "So embracing equity is around noticing all of these factors that feed into women being disadvantaged, and saying 'Yes, I'm willing to do what I can, and as an organization, to level the playing field.'
Taking tangible action to embrace equity
Harriet suggests the very first step in embracing equity is to notice inequality.
The second step, she suggests, is to say: 'What are we going to do about this?' and to understand that the answer is not simply providing 'equality of opportunity'. "Also be looking at all the barriers holding women back, and pledge to work towards dismantling gender stereotyping," adds Harriet.
Forging a world where women believe in themselves
Harriet's mission is to create a world that supports women to believe in themselves and achieve their fullest potential. She also focuses on empowering women to own their brilliance and succeed.
Harriet provides informative and engaging keynote addresses for International Women's Day events, and you can learn more about this here.
Reach out and get in contact
Looking to book Harriet Waley-Cohen as an IWD speaker? Reach out to Harriet to discuss your interest.
Or research the many impressive International Women's Day speakers available in your local areas using the IWD Speakers Directory.