Understanding the difference between equity and equality
The IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign seeks to help forge worldwide conversations and raise awareness about the difference between 'equity' and 'equality'. While equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful, equality is focused on giving everyone the exact same thing. Equity-based solutions take into account the diverse lived experiences of individuals and communities and seek to adapt services and policies according to these differences. You can find out more about the International Women's Day 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme here.
LeanIn.Org and InternationalWomensDay.com are working in collaboration to #EmbraceEquity this International Women's Day by developing and distributing a toolkit designed to educate people on how to identify and challenge bias in the workplace using specific examples. Some of the highlighted examples used are very close to our heart in Metec and we’d like to share some of those here today.
Celebrating Women in Engineering at Metec
Firstly, the toolkit asserts that in many organisations ``We tend to gravitate toward—and hire—people who remind us of ourselves, which can impact our ability to objectively evaluate who would bring the most to the job.” At Metec we believe that difference is something to strive for rather than avoid. Individuals from a different background, identity or culture add exponentially to the team dynamic and the workplace in any profession. We have over 55 employees from 11 countries all over the world and we can attest, from first-hand experience, that fostering diverse teams improves the overall productivity, culture and morale of our company. This may be one of the reasons we have 4% higher than the Irish average of female engineering employees.
This isn’t just our opinion either, the Harvard Business Review has research backed evidence which proves that nonhomogeneous teams are simply smarter. The studies show that working with people who are different from you in your field may challenge your brain to overcome its stale ways of thinking and sharpen its performance. This is why we’ve been on a journey to recruit new team members from diverse backgrounds, successfully bringing in fresh expertise and experience from across Europe, the USA, India, Egypt and Brazil.
Our Attention is on Creating an Inclusive Workplace Culture
Another focal point of the toolkit was what happens after the recruitment stage. How do we encourage equity in our everyday interactions? The Metec managers sit in the open plan spaces to facilitate constructive and positive two-way discussions about how to optimise every member of our teams’ skills and talents. We take this same approach in our quarterly town hall, where every member of the team is given an opportunity to speak, feed back, comment, suggest and inspire the whole team.
We believe in breaking old habits when they no longer serve our dynamic. Some of the concrete steps we’ve taken to ensure everyone feels comfortable socialising at our team events have been to vary the activities. While we do still enjoy eating and enjoying a beer together, we also dedicated a whole month to embracing and encouraging wellness in our workplace. From mindful colouring to gratitude journaling and physical activities, we embraced new daily practices intended to sustainably improve our lives.
Valerie Smithers, Associate of Metec HR/Executive Manager and volunteer Wicklow RNLI crew has been with Metec since 2015 when there were only 16 employees in the company. Since then, she has progressed from Accounts & Administration Manager to her current role by helping to build an inclusive and diverse workforce. Valerie says she “loves being a part of bringing people together to create unforgettable experiences.” With Valerie at the helm, we have been delighted to welcome 8 fantastically talented new female employees since 2020.
If you want to reshape the way you think about your career, and join a team that values diversity, check out our opportunities here. Maybe you could be our next BIM or Sustainability Engineer!