For over 100 years, International Women’s Day has been celebrated globally by bringing to light the momentous achievements of women - from their struggles to their successes. And although great strides have been taken, we know there is always more to be done.

When we consider what Embracing Equity means, it follows the question: why aren’t equal opportunities enough? By fostering these conversations, we hope to add to the global discussion about generating actionable strategies towards Embracing Equity.

As part of these discussions, we spoke with our global network to gather their thoughts and views on what equity means to them, what workspaces could be doing more of, or what they could continue to do to support and empower female employees:

It doesn’t matter what you identify with, success shouldn’t be determined by your gender:

Often, more emphasis is placed on personal or professional success when it has been achieved by women. Harmful stereotypes can keep the gender gap more deeply ingrained in society. Achievements should be celebrated for what they are – instead of focusing on the gender we associate them with.

“Equity is important for making sure that every employee’s voice is included in the decision-making process.”

“[We should not have to] emphasise on gender or any other characteristic of people, only highlighting them for their personal or professional achievements and/or successes.”

“The opportunity for everyone to achieve their goals both at personal and working level regardless of their gender.”

“Having equal respect and accepting any person regardless of gender and sexual orientation.”

“[FutureBrand] is open, available and values all people regardless of their gender. The fact that many women hold leadership positions is proof of this.”

If you give room to grow, talent will flourish:

Fulfilling your potential is easier to achieve if you have the right stepping stones in place to help you reach your goals – and this includes the support from the environment around you. Top talent comes in all shapes and sizes and if companies want to retain and attract high-level candidates, they need to foster an inclusive culture based on meaningful values and a sense of purpose.

“Consideration of female point of view moved from a superficial opinion to a fundamental in any piece of work. Talented women have reached top management positions and gender topics have had growing importance in the agenda.”

“A work environment that welcomes diversity of thought and is free from inequities improves life satisfaction for every individual.”

“Employers benefit when the contributions of collective minds are respected and received without prejudice, discrimination or favouritism.”

“It has changed my ability to not only understand the concept of equity but also to live it every day as a professional, as a mother, as a woman.”

“[FutureBrand] have given us all the same opportunities and have also validated us before external parties in an equal manner.”

Create space and normalise the conversation:

We’re not perfect, but we are learning. To break global stereotypes that define women into certain roles, we need to instigate conversation that challenges these social constraints and creates opportunity for men and women alike.

Companies should have specially trained people to help internalise and normalise the conversation that enables a stronger trend for equal opportunity to be achieved.”

"At a global level, we must generate a greater connection between all women, and those who identify as women, to learn about their stories and experiences, and thus learn from others. For example, getting to know what the history of the women leaders of FutureBrand has been like, knowing who they are and what their trajectory has been to reach those positions."

“Creating initiatives to link and connect women around the world… It would be interesting to integrate more men into their views and fears in the face of this new world scenario.”

“We should give women the same rights, same opportunities and same stature men have.”

“There are still some expressions, ways of talking and of joking that contain biases and I really wish to see them disappear forever.”

“We should increase our respect for the differences in the verbal and para verbal approach, where gentleness does not mean weakness.”

“Words are important, but actions are more so… It’s important that we find ways to reward all our employees in a way that resonates with them personally.”

Take a note from some pioneering brands, but you must walk the talk to garner support:

Outward displays of equal opportunity must link back to an organisation's collective purpose. Brands cannot simply signpost themselves as advocates of equality if their internal structures are entrenched with bias. Society expects businesses to be more accountable and tangibly implementing measures that foster equal thinking will be vital to retaining and attracting the audiences of tomorrow.

“If brands are to flaunt their supposed values, they also need to represent them in all aspects of their business, from the way they treat their store associates, to their head office operations, to their supply chains, partners and networks.”

“Mattel - Barbie is committed to fostering a culture internally where all employees have the opportunity to realise their full potential. Externally the world of Barbie aims to enhance the sublime authenticity of the feminine and masculine worlds in order to positively influence new generations.”

The success of any company is determined by the employees that work for it. At FutureBrand, we are lucky to house a network of trailblazing women, and much like any dedicated awareness month, this conversation does not stop after the date has passed. We will continue engaging with employees globally to live our values of diversity, equity, and inclusivity daily.

View more of our conversations across the FutureBrand global network for IWD 2023 here.

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