As I reflect upon this year’s International Women's Day theme, #embraceequity, I wanted to share why it is especially poignant to me on a very personal level. My eldest daughter, Madison, is 8 years old and was diagnosed with a rare condition called Williams Syndrome when she was just 6 weeks old.
As a result of this condition, Madison will encounter several challenges as she develops in this world. Madison is very small in stature, has trouble with spatial awareness and self-regulation and is developmentally delayed. To contextualize this, at 8 years old, Madison is the size of a 5 year old and is just able to write her first name and count to 20.
Now I must mention that Madison has several remarkable gifts! She can hold any tune beautifully and recognize songs and their artists after hearing and learning about them just once. And, most remarkably, she is the most profoundly kind and happy individual to the point where her positivity is unanimously contagious. She can turn anyone’s frown upside down. She is a special gift. In fact, a (maybe 55 year old male) stranger randomly came up to me this weekend noting that“Madison is like a magical little pixie. She is truly special.” We receive feedback like this often. Madison brings so much light to this world.
Despite her magic, Madison will face several untraditional hurdles due to her ‘exceptionalities’ as she grows up in today’s society. This is precisely why the concept of equity versus equality has become extremely relevant to our family over the past 8 years.
Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. This is the goal for women, and frankly everyone, everywhere - Madison included.
Forging gender, and beyond that, human equity isn't limited to women solely rallying. This is a human rights problem.
My view:We are all uniquely special individuals, with our own unique gifts, each on this earth to serve our own unique purpose.
My hope: That society can continue to evolve for the better, to see and support each individual’s special offerings, Madison’s included.
My actions: Talk about it - to everyone. To women. But equally, to our sons, our husbands, our brothers, and our fathers. They are part of the solution too. (& on a micro-scale, continue to show Madison that she is a gift and help her share this gift with others.)
We can all challenge stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion and the gifts that each individual has to share.
Collective activism is what drives change. From grassroots action to wide-scale momentum, we can all embrace equity.
Today, honouring Madison and so many others deserving of equity in this world,we are donating 5% of all retail website sales to the Williams Syndrome Association.