The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Equity and how we need more than just equal opportunities.
Here at Heliodoor Apartments, we strive for equity in everything we do, and the team is excited to be taking part in this year’s campaign of embracing equity with a hug!
Equity not Equality
Equality is a word often used by companies and organisations to declare fairness in their approach to their workers, however, equality is a flawed concept.
As Susan Gardner puts it: “Equality is giving everyone a shoe. Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.”
Simply put, equality means every person is given the same resources, regardless of their circumstance. Equity sees and acknowledges the person’s circumstances and gives them tailored resources so that every person can reach an equal outcome.
Equity is about creating a truly inclusive world and we can all play our part by challenging stereotypes, calling out discrimination, drawing attention to any bias, and always seeking out inclusion.
Can you imagine a gender equal world? It shouldn’t be as hard as it is.
Here at Heliodoor Apartments, we are inspired every day by the women around us, each and every one of whom deserve to be treated with equity. Our colleagues, our suppliers and our guests inspire us to join in with the collective action of gender parity, and to create a world that is truly inclusive.
We all have those women we look up to; the women that have inspired us to push ourselves, the women that have encouraged us to stand up for what’s right, the women that have paved a way for us to make a difference, and the women who have loved us unconditionally.
For this International Women’s Day, we asked our very own Leah Musana to share a bit about the woman that has inspired her in her business journey. And although she is inspired by too many women to name them all, she recently watched a Netflix series, Self Made, that inspired her to look deeper into the life of Madam C. J. Walker who boldly made an impact way ahead of her time.
Madam C. J. Walker
Born in 1876, Madam C.J. Walker rose from poverty to become a hugely successful business woman, despite her circumstances.
She had a difficult upbringing, becoming an orphan at the age of seven. She worked in the cotton fields with one of her sisters and married at the young age of 14. Her first marriage left her a widow and single parent, and her second marriage ended in divorce. After struggling financially, in 1904 her life took a dramatic turn when she began using African American businesswoman Annie Turbo Malone’s “The Great Wonderful Hair Grower” and went on to join Malone’s team of black women sales agents.
Walker would go on to create her own line of products and build a phenomenal business with sales exceeding $500,000 in 1919, the final year of her life. In fact, she is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records.
In spite of her own personal life challenges, Walker used her wealth to expand her philanthropic and political outreach. She contributed to the YMCA, helped with tuition costs for African American students, and became very active in the anti-lynching movement. She donated two-thirds of her future net profits to charity, individuals and schools that were close to her heart.
We asked Leah to share a bit about why Madam C.J. Walker has inspired her in her business ventures, and how she is embracing equity this International Women’s Day:
It is a well documented fact that women have to work twice as hard to gain half the recognition men have in any industry. Yet, we have seen time and again the huge benefits we bring when we are at the top running organisations, and even countries (just take a look at how well countries with female heads of states have coped during recent challenging times!).
As a woman with very humble beginnings, raised by a single mother who struggled to put food on the table and did everything she could to ensure I had a decent education (which was mainly funded by foreign charities), these inspirational trailblazing women are the fuel that fires my self belief. Not only do I owe it to the unknown sponsors who believed in me, but also to all those others on a similar path. And what gives me the greatest joy is to see how much progress women have made in society over the centuries, and are still doing every single day! It shouldn’t matter whether or not you’re a man or a woman, it should be about what you are capable of as a human being.
The entire purpose of this year’s theme of equity is to ignite conversations about why equal opportunities are not enough, and to help bring about true inclusion through equitable actions. And so we are embracing equity today as part of that conversation, and encourage you to do the same in whatever way you can!
Join us as we celebrate International Women’s Day!! #EmbraceEquity