Happy International Women’s Day! A Message from Ayn Wilcox, Executive Director of Klinic

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women, girls, and gender-diverse people and the progress that has been made toward gender equity. However, it’s also a time to reflect on the work that still needs to be done to ensure that all of us have a chance to succeed and thrive. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Embrace Equity,” which encourages us to focus on achieving gender equity in all aspects of life.

How is Equity Different from Equality?

Equity is about fairness and justice. It means recognizing that people have different needs and circumstances, and taking action to ensure that everyone has an equal chance to succeed. Equity is not the same as equality, which assumes that everyone is starting from the same place. Equity recognizes that some people face more barriers than others and need additional support to thrive.

You can learn more about equity versus equality from Cammy Watkins through the Conversations for Change series by Inclusive Communities:

What is Klinic Doing to Embrace Equity?

Women, girls, and gender-diverse people have historically faced discrimination and inequality in many areas of life, from education and employment to healthcare and political representation. Black women, women of colour, Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, Trans and gender-diverse women, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, women who are poor or unhoused, and women who live with disabilities face additional forms of discrimination and barriers to equity.

Embracing equity means recognizing these disparities and taking action to address them. For nearly 50 years, Klinic has worked to advance equitable access to reproductive health services and abortion, advocate for and provide safe, gender-affirming care, and support gender-based violence survivors and advocate for system change. We know there is still more work to be done.

Klinic remains rooted in our core value of social justice for all. We work to promote equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging so that we honour and are reflective of the communities we serve. Through our 2022-26 Strategic Plan, Klinic is committed to

  • Advancing our work in Reconciliation, Decolonization, and anti-oppression.
  • Becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization.
  • Enhancing the experience of our clients and participants.

We are committed to transforming the work we do, and are actively undertaking this work – with the voices of those most impacted by systems and practices of oppression – at the center. This includes an organizational review, the development of an anti-oppression policy, and reviewing our Human Resources policies and practices to ensure they are in alignment. We are also examining and transforming our work and space to be a more welcoming and safe space for all members of our community. You can learn more about how Klinic is advancing equity by reading our strategic plan: https://klinic.mb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Klinic-Strategic-Plan-2022-26.pdf

How Can We Embrace Equity for Women, Girls and Gender-Diverse People?

There are many ways to embrace equity both individually and collectively. Here are just a few:

  1. Support Women and Gender Diverse-Owned Businesses: By supporting these businesses, we can help women and gender-diverse folks achieve economic empowerment and break down gender barriers in the workplace.
  2. Donate Time or Money to Non-profits that Support and Advocate for Gender Equity in Your Community. Some Winnipeg-based non-profits include:
  3. Address Gender-Based Violence: Gender-based violence affects women, girls, and gender-diverse people in all areas of the world and can have lifelong consequences. We need to take action to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and support survivors.
  4. Encourage the Leadership of Women, Girls, and Gender-Diverse People: Women, girls, and gender-diverse people are underrepresented in leadership positions in many areas of society. Encouraging and supporting their leadership is key to achieving gender equity in decision-making processes.
  5. Listen to the Voices of Women, Girls, and Gender-Diverse People: The experiences and perspectives of women, girls, and gender-diverse people, especially those of racialized and marginalized communities, are often overlooked or ignored in decision-making processes. We need to actively listen to these voices and include them in all areas of society.

Embracing equity for women, girls, and gender-diverse people is essential to achieving gender equality and creating a fair and just society. It requires us to recognize the barriers that people face and take action to address them. This International Women’s Day let’s commit to embracing equity and working toward a world where all women, girls, and gender-diverse people can thrive.