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Celebrating International Women’s Day

March 8, 2023
3 minute read

#embraceequity

International Women’s Day falls on 8th March every year and is an important day of the year to raise awareness on women’s equality. It is a day in which women are celebrated and gender stereotypes are challenged.

The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme ‘is to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren't enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. It's critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.

So, what is the difference between equity and equality - and why is it important to understand, acknowledge and value this?

As Early Years Educators, we are privileged to have such a big influence on shaping the lives of those little ones that come through our door every morning.

When we think about equality and equity in the early years, we may consider all children having equal access to resources, respecting ourselves and others, speaking out and being free to express ourselves, regardless of gender. Enabling children in their early years to begin to understand such subjects, can help protect them from the negative consequences of inequality and discrimination as they grow older.

Across early years settings, we may start by ensuring all children are provided with equal opportunities to play and learn, and have access to a range of activities to support their development. Supporting children to challenge gender stereotypes in all areas of learning is an important part of our role. Many of us will have experienced children with gender stereotypical play, such as stating that girls cant be builders or boys can’t dress up a princesses. By helping children to work through why they think this way, we can help to remove such stereotypical thinking and begin to #embraceequity. Showing children that activities such as cooking, cleaning or gardening are not gender specific is an important life lesson. Allowing children to play with whatever toys they choose, regardless of their gender is an example of how children are treated equally.

But equity is so much more than equality.

(IWD: Equality versus Equity: What's the difference as we #EmbraceEquity for IWD 2023 and beyond? (internationalwomensday.com)

Equality in early years means each child is given the same resources or opportunities as their peers. They are given the same access to early education, the same opportunity and the same environment.

However, equity recognises that each child in our setting has different circumstances, varying cultural capital, and therefore needs varying resources, environments and opportunities in order to reach an equal outcome.

Across the early years sector, we recognise that each child is unique and strive to provide early education that is equitable and accessible for all. This does not mean giving every child the same. Equity means working out what each unique child needs in order to thrive.

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