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  • Writer's pictureLorina MacLeod

Championing Equity for International Women's Day

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

On March 8th 2023, we attended the UBC alumni event International Women’s Day: Embrace Equity, a webinar exploring how to empower women and marginalized gender identities. Student alumni council member Prabhleen Sandu facilitated the event, and the alumni panelists were Nic Wayara (Founder of Hook or Crook consulting, an equity, diversity, and inclusion company), Rachel Ricketts (creative justice consultant), and Tina Strelke (CEO of Minerva BC, a non-profit for women in leadership). Each panelist shared how their story and background connects with equity and answered participant questions with personal insights from their experience.


This thoughtful and inclusive webinar shed light on the need to view International Women’s Day through an intersectional lens. Some of our key takeaways included the importance of ensuring resources are available to those who need them, knowing our own values, and taking advantage of opportunities to create a more equitable workplace.





How can we advocate for each other?

As the focus of the session was on equity, panelists shared what equity meant to them, which included the discussion of equity as considering each individual's diverse needs. This is in contrast to common characterizations of equality, where everyone receives the exact same resources without consideration to those who have greater needs. Panelists frequently brought up the need for us to see the humanity in each other, prioritize historically marginalized people, and celebrate our differences. They also discussed the barrier of the scarcity mindset—the idea that only one group can achieve better rights, which causes marginalized groups to work against each other rather than cooperate. We need to unpack this mindset and instead remember that everyone deserves safety and justice.


Know yourself.

Many participants asked questions about difficult situations—for example, how to approach a supervisor about discrimination or how to handle sexism in the workplace. The panelists discussed the reality that many groups aren’t aware of equity and gender, and sometimes we need to assess the situation and try to take the best measure possible. It’s important to know who we are and what we value to help us decide what to do.


If you have power, create equity.

After discussing the employee’s perspective, the panelists also addressed the role of those with power in the workplace: managers, supervisors, and other leaders. Through transparency, especially around pay, promotions, and other topics, managers can create a safe environment for employees to communicate, leading to more equity in the workplace for everyone.


We’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to experience this webinar, and we know that we will be considering how we can better model equity in our team. It was fantastic to attend an event that included panelists from a variety of backgrounds, creating an intersectional approach that acknowledges the variety of prejudices women and individuals of marginalized gender identities face in their daily lives. A recording of this webinar is available through the UBC Magazine Online.

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