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Women’s Equality Day was originally celebrated in 1971, a year after the historic Women’s Strike for Equality, and then later designated as a holiday in 1972. The Women’s Strike for Equality took place on the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment,[i] serving as a meaningful demonstration for the furthering of women’s rights nationally and globally. Since then, Women’s Equality Day has served as a reminder of this strike and the signs of progress it stood for, having also grown to represent modern efforts to push forward progress for women’s rights.

In the present day, both equality and equity have come to the forefront as issues faced by women in the workforce. In terms of equality, communities are actively working to make sure that women have access to equal resources, rights, and opportunities. In terms of equity, companies and organizations need to take steps to allocate the resources and opportunities needed to accommodate the marginalization women continue to face.

Currently, the workplace and workforce are some of the key areas where we continue to see the barriers that women face in terms of both equality and equity. During the pandemic, three percent of both men and women left the workforce. Now, as many workers have begun to return to the workforce, there’s a noticeable disparity between the rates of men and women returning.[ii]

In particular, many women left the workforce to take on childcare duties – an indication of a gender barrier many women deal with regularly in the workplace – and current women employment rates remain one percentage point lower than pre-pandemic numbers.[iii] With such a large amount of women being out of the workforce, and with women continuing to be an underserved and underrepresented demographic, there is ample opportunity for businesses to make a difference by bringing back highly-skilled talent to the workforce while increasing their diversity, representation, and equity.

Creating equity and representation is an essential aspect of the path towards equality. By expanding the talent pool, diversifying leadership and hiring professionals, and implementing inclusive workplace practices, organizations can work towards a better, more equitable future for the world of tomorrow. Taking steps to improve company culture, reviewing and updating hiring processes, partnering with women-led organizations, and consulting women-led resources are all effective ways that companies can begin to create more access and representation.

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