Often the words equality and equity are used interchangeably.

But this year’s International Women’s Day campaign – which culminates today on Wednesday 8th March – shines a spotlight on the real difference in their meaning.

So, we’re keen as a business to explore the importance in understanding this distinction.

The aim of this year’s International Women’s Day theme #EmbraceEquity pushes the world to talk about why the well-coined phrase, ‘equal opportunities’ doesn’t fit the bill.

At the nub of this important campaign, lies the key message that everyone requires different components to be successful. And that’s where equity is vitally different to equality. Providing everyone with what they need to be successful and acknowledging that as individuals we all have different needs is the first step to real gender equity.

Equity acknowledges that as people we all start life in different places. The International Women’s Day website explains

“Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful. In other words, it’s not giving everyone the exact same thing. If we give everyone the exact same thing, expecting that will make people equal, it assumes that everyone started out in the same place – and this can be vastly inaccurate because everyone isn’t the same.

“The concept of ‘fairness’ can get tricky as it’s often assumed that ‘being fair’ means that everybody gets the same thing. Often, this has been taught when we were growing up, but ‘fairness’ really only works when we’re all the same to start out with.”

This is a conversation that touches all aspects of society.

And one that has inspired us to continually consider and review the support, policies and social committees we deliver and champion with our team members. And at various points in all our lives we’ll be approaching issues from different viewpoints – so we’re keen to acknowledge and support this as a business through our internal policies.

For example:

  • Our menopause policy aims to break the taboo in the workplace – we want everyone to be able to talk about it openly and without embarrassment and explain to those who don’t know, how this transition in a woman’s life is often not always an easy one. The changing age of the UK’s workforce means that between 75% and 80% of menopausal women are in work. And research shows that the majority of women are unwilling to discuss menopausal related health problems with their line manager, nor ask for the support or adjustments that they may need. Through our policy we want our team members to feel supported to improve their time at work and know that as a business we understand the challenges they’re facing and will help them through this time.
  • We’re also committed to supporting working parents and knowing that flexibility is key to creating a successful work-life balance. Our team members have the choice of working from home, the office or hybrid as well as flexibility around school drop off and pick up times.

And striving to advance towards a truly diverse workforce is championed by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in collaboration with our Senior Leadership and HR team.

Our vision is simple:

1. Our workforce is diverse, and diversity of thought is respected and reflected at all levels within the business.

2. There is a culture of inclusion, psychological safety and belonging, in which our colleagues feel valued, listened to and free to be themselves.

3. Equitable treatment is the norm with policies, processes and structures adapted to reflect this so discrimination is eliminated at all levels.

And we’ll never stop learning.

We’re committed to continually reviewing our approach to ensure we’re a truly equitable employer.

Joe Norburn, Chief Executive Officer at TCC explains

“International Women’s Day is an important day for us to mark as a business, not only out of respect and gratitude to the women who have tirelessly campaigned throughout history, but to acknowledge and continue learning from the hard work that continues across society to achieve equity for everyone.

Today provides a natural check in for us to ensure that we’re on the right track – we consider our company ethos and policies, and feedback from across the business. Our focus on equity goes far beyond International Women’s Day alone, it’s something we’re committed to achieving for all our colleagues every day.”

We’ve also been proud to hear our female team members’ thoughts on how our equity values have helped, and continue to help, in their current roles:

“As a mum to two young children, finding an employer that values your commitments as a parent is priceless. Working remotely means I can incorporate the school run into my day and my colleagues understand this. This has really helped me create the work-life balance I’ve always strived to have.”

“I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to work in a new male-dominated industry – my hiring manager saw my potential beyond my industry credentials, and I’ve been given the opportunity to grow within the business.”

“I feel very lucky to have been mentored by an incredible woman who has created two amazing businesses, both in very male dominated sectors.”

“I feel fortunate and proud to work for senior leaders who embrace diversity and foster a culture of inclusion, psychological safety and belonging. This empowers me in my role within our HR function, knowing that future advancements I propose to our policies and working practices which support diversity, equity and inclusion will receive full backing.”

“Flexible working policies have allowed me to focus on my career and be there for my family.”