Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Every March, we celebrate both Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. We must use this month to honor, uplift, and amplify the stories of the women who were crucial to the movement and those who continue to break barriers.
The theme of International Women’s Day this year is #EmbraceEquity and NOW is proud to boost such a profound call to action. Simply calling for equality fails to achieve what it sets out to do because it neglects to consider the needs and treatment of different populations. Equality and equity are not interchangeable – one relies on the other. As we are painfully aware, we do not all begin life at the same starting line. In the world we live in, it is an unfortunate reality that our identities —whether it be race, gender, class, or sexual orientation—are subject to discrimination, which is compounded with increasing marginalization of certain communities.
Equity is the key to change this. Just as intersectionality underscores the fact that a woman’s lived experience differs from another based on how they identify, equity highlights that each person has different circumstances and calls for proportionate support, resources, and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome for all. But to advance equity, we must call out the ugly truths of our reality. In a world that has been built and shaped for a very specific kind of person, operating off of the principles of equality ignores the root of the discriminatory practices that exist in this world. Equity on the other hand, directly confronts the systemic barriers in place in a world where men simply have more rights than women. Without addressing these disparities, we are doing a disservice to marginalized communities and upholding systems of oppression.
During this Women’s History Month and for International Women’s Day, let’s focus on language that better matches what we all are fighting for. Gender equality is the end goal but gender equity is the best way to achieve it.