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Embrace Equity #EmbraceEquity #IWD2023

Embrace Equity #EmbraceEquity #IWD2023

By Lisa Hannay @lhannay1

During the week of March 6-12 #WomenEd networks around the world will host assorted events and activities celebrating International Women's Day. 

The theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity. 

Each Global Strategic Leader for #WomenEd will share a blog leading up to March 8 to create excitement, build knowledge, and explore what the theme means in each of our respective regions. 

Find out more about IWD 2023 here.

In the public school board in Calgary, Alberta, the essential work of equity is undertaken in schools with regards to accessibility, academic achievement, school completion and cultural acceptance. 

Schools look to remove barriers to learning for all students and work to ensure that the motto "Every student, every day, no exceptions" is lived in each building.

This essential work is not easy. 

It means that someone like myself, middle class and white, has to engage in self-reflection and use my privilege to challenge ideas, policies and practices that limit accessibility to learning. I have to reframe my language and thinking. Recently I realized that I am not yet anti-racist and, to ensure that there is equity, I need to become anti-racist.

I would never defend racism but would explain that I believe that there is racism born from ignorance, from not knowing better and there is racism born from hate. I do not hate but I do not know. Equity cannot live in a system where racism and bias live. Our system was developed with a very narrow lens and perspective and equity thrives when there are a multitude of perspectives and when people can see themselves and leave a footprint in the system.

Contrary to some popular thought, embracing equity does make the world better for all of us. 

When I was little, story has it that to prevent sharing my toys and books, I would sit on all of them, leaving my little playmates with nothing until a wiser adult came along and divided the spoils. The adult version of this little anecdote is that a couple of dozen billionaires hoard the majority of the world's wealth. Economics has a massive impact on equity and usually public education works to achieve equity without the resources to maintain it. 

Maybe some day a wiser adult will help disperse the enormous wealth that the billionaires are sitting on but in the meantime what can we do?

  1. Reflect on your own ideas about equity. Be honest. Are you on your own way to becoming anti-racist?
  2. When selecting resources for students are these resources reflective and inclusive?
  3. Inventory your social media. Who are you following? Are you in an echo chamber?
  4. Listen for language in yourself, in the office, in the staffroom and halls.
  5. Ask for, use and respect pronouns choice.
  6. Read, listen, watch and learn media and mediums that push you outside of your perspective.

We can all embrace this together.

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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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