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We’re About To Celebrate “IWD” – Why Not Expand Our Celebration To “EBA” Through “AAA”?

Written by: Ellen Kocher, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated yearly on March 8th to raise awareness about a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive where difference is valued and celebrated. This year's theme embrace equity is a collective call to action inspiring far beyond women’s equality and far beyond one single celebratory day.


Woman with a note with the text women's day

The embrace equity tagline inspires expanding our mindset where *Everyone Belongs Always (EBA) — especially in the workplace — through Awareness, Acknowledgement, and Action (AAA). Let’s explore why and how.


By definition, Equity is not Equality. Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities while Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the resources and opportunities needed to reach equal outcomes. Equity is what we need in the vastly diverse cultures — including gender, sex, race, age, etc. — we are confronted with today. Equity not only allows people to feel they are treated fairly but allows them to feel they belong. Belonging means that everyone feels safe and can bring their full, unique selves to work and it is vital to performance, innovation, retention, and well-being.


The importance of belonging has come to light in recent years through social justice movements such as me too and black lives matter. The pandemic and the Great Resignation have also made creating a culture of belonging more important than ever – not just for employee well-being but for business success.


WHY “EBA” is critical today:

  • We work with people from all cultures and backgrounds and therefore need cultural sensitivity to work empathetically and efficiently,

  • Technology makes access easier than ever, exposing us globally to diverse cultures,

  • The workforce is comprised of 50% men and 50% women,

  • For the first time in history, we have a 5-generation workforce,

  • Equity and belonging are strongly linked to mental health — a critical workplace issue,

  • 72% of employees want to work for a company that values Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging,

  • Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to notice higher financial returns,

  • Millennials are 83% more likely to be engaged at work in inclusive companies,

  • Historically underrepresented groups, like African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics are expected to make up the majority of the (US) population by 2044 — this trend is showing up globally too,

  • There are legal and ethical reasons against all forms of discrimination.

HOW an “EBA” culture can be fostered through Awareness, Acknowledgement, and Action “AAA”:


Awareness


Developing into a multiculturally sensitive organization or individual means getting to know yourself, becoming aware of multi-layered cultural differences, and practicing a style that recognizes those differences. March 8th is a great opportunity to raise awareness about gender and sex, but let’s not forget about race, age, and other potential cultural spaces for belonging. Awareness can happen through focused coaching, workshops, and even online forums and exchanges.


Acknowledgment


Acknowledgment involves a reflective understanding of one’s own culture while viewing cultural differences as learning opportunities rather than challenges. Acknowledging where we stand starts with the Awareness above which allows us to assess ourselves. This Multicultural Competency Self-Reflection tool is a wonderful place to start. The best way to understand what a diverse workforce needs is to simply ask them and listen to them.


Action


A multiculturally sensitive organization will engage in supportive interactions that cultivate a nurturing environment where everyone feels they belong. These communicative Actions help to ensure that all voices and different perspectives are represented and heard. Ensuring leadership is advocating for and setting an example for change throughout the organization is key. It starts with knowing your story, setting goals, assessing progress, and repeating.


Always.


Get ready for International Women’s Day 2023!


IWD 2023 is a wonderful trigger for raising awareness, acknowledging, and taking action. However, it’s just a first step. To truly embrace equity, let’s expand our vocabulary and make “EBA” a new buzzword within DEI&B. After all, social belonging is a fundamental human need, hardwired into our DNA, and yet, 40% of people still say that they feel isolated at work…


What can you do about that? If you’re not quite sure, please reach out!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Ellen Kocher, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ellen Kocher is an Economist and Certified Workplace Wellness Consultant who holds a master’s degree in Health & Wellness Coaching. Following 10 years as an Executive in Finance, Ellen made some major lifestyles change and has dedicated the past 20+ years to walking her talk through workplace wellbeing, promoting a holistic approach to eating, physical activity, health, resilience, and self-care. Ellen has coached hundreds of individuals and groups in dozens of organizations to make sustainable lifestyle changes empowering them to go from knowing what to do to actually doing it! Most recently Ellen’s work focuses on the 50+ demographic.

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