As I sat in the audience watching my 5-year-old daughter compete in a local jiu-jitsu competition, a deep sense of pride and joy swelled within me. Seeing her confidently execute her techniques and assert herself without aggression on the mat was a moment I will never forget. It was a powerful reminder of the limitless potential within every young girl, a potential that can be hindered by societal inequalities and biases.

As a mother who has chosen to prioritize her children’s care and a woman who values her own voice, I have often felt like I am playing catch-up or having to answer to a higher standard in the workplace. I am convinced that my part-time status has impacted my mindset, causing me to work more intensively, focus more intently, and over-deliver as if to overcompensate for perceived limitations. It’s a common experience for many women who are balancing caregiving responsibilities with their careers. Furthermore, society often devalues the outspoken nature of women, but I know that it’s a characteristic that I am proud of. However, I have come to realize that speaking up and calling out injustices can sometimes be perceived negatively in certain contexts.

Watching my daughter excel in a male-dominated sport gives me hope for the future. It reminds me that the limitations placed on women are not inherent, but rather societal constructs that can be dismantled. I am inspired by the next generation of young girls who will grow up with different expectations and opportunities, and I am determined to fight for a more equitable future for all women.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and embrace the theme of equity, I urge us all to reflect on the ways in which societal biases and inequalities have held us back. Let us work together to break down these barriers and create a world where every woman has the opportunity to pursue her passions and reach her full potential, including myself and my female colleagues.

Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality. IWD 2023’s campaign theme aims to get the world talking about why “equal opportunities are no longer enough”

New figures from Advance HE show that the mean pay gap in higher education in 2020-21 was slightly higher, 14.8 per cent, highlighting the ongoing need for continued efforts to achieve gender equity in all sectors.”

Relevant links:

International Women’s Day 2023 embraces #EmbraceEquity.

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