International Women's Day

International Women’s Day 2023: Embrace Equity

This International Women’s Day, the theme is #EmbraceEquity, a campaign that aims to not only illustrate the differences between equity and equality but also to get people talking about why equal opportunities are not enough. As the International Women’s Day website states, “People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action”.

The Basic Difference Between Equity and Equality

(sourced from International Women’s Day definition of Equity and Equality)

Equality: Each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.

Equity: The recognition that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

Equality and Equity in the Veterinary Industry

In the veterinary profession, women account for the majority of practicing vets registered with the RCVS as reported by Veterinary Woman; it’s a female-dominated field and almost all the veterinary nurse DipAVN holders are female with only 2.7% of UK VNs being male (2019 Survey of the Veterinary Nurse Profession, RCVS, 2019). Despite this, male vets and VNs are consistently paid more than their female counterparts for the same role.

Research conducted by CM Research and The Society of Practicing Veterinary Surgeons in 2018 and  summarised by here highlights how, even though veterinary roles often start on equal footing, as they gain experience and progress, male veterinary staff are paid up to 36% more than female veterinary staff, even with the same experience and qualifications. This is due to the gender pay gap that sees women being paid significantly less for doing the same role as a man, even if they are in exactly the same position with the same experience, suggesting more value is placed intrinsically on the work of men for no legitimate reason besides internalised gender discrimination.

In veterinary nursing, according to Improve Veterinary Practice, “female VNs on average earn £3000 less than male nurses (equivalent to 13%)” It’s examples like these that show how equality is not the end goal; even though men and women can begin on equal footing, they will not reach an equal outcome. Instead, we need to #EmbraceEquity within the veterinary field (and beyond) and recognise the different circumstances surrounding different people and then provide the opportunities and resources needed for an equal outcome.

So how do we #EmbraceEquity?

  • Challenge gender stereotypes
  • Call out discrimination
  • Draw attention to bias
  • Seek out inclusion

You can find out more information about the 2023 International Women’s Day and #EmbraceEquity here. Or you can have a look at how others are embracing equity on social media using the hashtags #IWD2023 and #EmbraceEquity

Want to know more about equality, diversity and inclusion at The College of Animal Welfare? You can find our policy here.