We're giving equity a huge embrace on International Women’s Day
We aim to embrace equity every day, but to mark International Women’s Day on 8th March we celebrate our female staff and residents. As a predominantly female workforce we are awash with inspirational women at Abbeyfield.
As an example of how we are embracing equity, in the past 12 months we have gained external accreditation as a Menopause Friendly Employer – we believe menopause is for everyone to understand and we encourage everyone to talk about it in their day-to-day lives.
What is Equity?
The words equality or equity are often used in relation to fairness, but what is the difference?
In simple terms, equality gives everyone equal access to the same set of resources, irrespective of their individual needs. It assumes we are all the same and need the same things.
Equity gives access to resources based on need. It recognises that we all have different lived experiences and some people may need more resources than others because they had less to begin with. Basically, we do not all start from a level playing field and people have differing requirements.
If this is not considered, despite our best efforts, people will not necessarily be able to flourish – and this applies to our staff as well.
For example, let’s say we create a brand new staff room on the third floor of a care home, with the only access being via a staircase, but a staff member has mobility issues. This is not equitable for all staff if they cannot access it.
What does this mean at work?
No part of a person’s identity should get in the way of them being able to thrive at work (for example gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, neurodiversity). We want everyone to bring their best self to work and, to enable this, we must celebrate the uniqueness of every individual so that they feel valued, accepted and supported to succeed for the person they are. This means considering any barriers, challenging stereotypes, drawing attention to bias and creating an inclusive workplace.
What about our residents?
We exist to provide services to all of our Abbeyfield residents. We support them to live socially active lives to the full in warm, welcoming and stimulating homes. Given they live with us 24/7 in a what is considered to be their own home, it is even more important that we treat them as unique individuals, with specific needs and wants. We help create inclusive homes where everyone is valued, whatever their identity or circumstances.
What practical steps can we take?
We are all responsible and accountable for embracing equity. At Abbeyfield, we encourage our staff to:
- Celebrate every individual for the unique person that they are, irrespective of identity or circumstance, and be welcoming to all
- Question and challenge our own personal biases and stereotypes – these may be conscious or unconscious, but we all have them!
- Think about any barriers and how they can be removed to allow people to thrive. Remember, we all have different needs and requirements shaped by our own personal experiences
- Positively seek out and promote inclusion. This is more than just being nice; it means going the extra mile to involve people
- Call out poor behaviour as we see it
- Educate ourselves, be curious, understand and value different perspectives and beliefs
Look out for photos of our staff and residents striking the #EmbraceEquity pose on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on IWD, 8th March.