Last week, I was at a local community college celebrating International Women’s Day when I overheard three Gen Zers’s conversation.
Gen Z man-looks around at all the purple signs, stickers, and booths celebrating #iwd2023, “When is it my day?” he asked.
Gen Z woman, “Every other day,” she replied.
Well-said. And my MOXIEmoment: International Women’s Day.
What does #EmbraceEquity (the 2023 theme of International Women’s Day) really mean to me? Right now, it means four things.
- Pay equity: getting paid what you’re worth. I remember sharing the stat that 85% of women make less than men with the same title, experience, and expectations with a cohort of women I was working with from the same company. They looked at me and said, “Is it true at our company?” I responded, “Ask each other and find out.”
One courageous woman said she was told, “We can’t believe we hired you so cheaply.” Another one said that she was given a raise because she was bottoming out. A third one said that she made less than her male counterpart. We paused. Clearly, they were part of the stat and so was their company.
MOXIEtip: talk about how much you get paid with your female and male friends and colleagues. Normalize talking about money and salaries like you do crockpot recipes, newest Netflix shows, and best daycares.
- Potential equity: getting seen for your potential, not just your productivity. Research shows that men are hired on potential and women are hired on productivity. If you pause and think about it, you can see the huge hole this creates.
MOXIEtip: communicate your potential to the decision makers. Help them visualize what you can do for them and the company in the future-not just now. Of course, this means you need to know your own potential. What helped me was asking a variety of people who knew me what they saw as my strengths and what they see me doing in the future. I was shocked! Because they were right. Know your potential.
- Decision-making equity: having the authority-not just doing the work. Research shows that women are often given the work (responsibility) but not the authority (decision-making power). When you do all the work for the project, the report, or the ________________, are you also given authority? To stand on stage. To share with the executive team. To get the promotion.
MOXIEtip: before you raise your hand or say yes to the work, ask yourself, “How can I also have decision-making or authority over this work?” I call it win-win-win. The win for them is you doing the work, what’s the win for you? The promotion. The seat at the table. The spot on stage. And what’s the win for the collective? Is it really making the culture/company better if you do the work? Or should it be somebody else?
- Doing the work equity: sharing the responsibility in getting to equity. We all know that women do more caretaking than men (unpaid women’s work). That’s a whole blog or series of blogs. What I’m referring to is the work of Equity. In my ten years of working with Employee Resource Groups, I can think of two times that the lead was a man-both of them were not American. Even when I worked with the Men as Allies ERG, the lead was a woman.
A couple years back, I was helping with a workshop for DEI leaders and noticed that there were no men on the attendance list-except for those who were panelists or speaking that day. I asked the leader to add this to our agenda, so we could recruit more men. In the meantime, I invited three men to attend. They all told me they were too busy. These are men who say they care about equity.
MOXIEtip: invite allies to be part of the conversation and part of the ownership of Equity. Notice when they’re not showing up and expect they do the hard work too. #EmbraceEquity all year long.
How do you #EmbraceEquity? How will you encourage others to #EmbraceEquity? Comment below!
Happy International Women’s Day! In LOVE, EQUITY, and MOXIE, Kristi