"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own."
Many of the words used to discuss gender issues and equality are fraught with various connotations and interpretations. In the interest of clear communication, here are some of the words and phrases we use, and the definitions and contexts we use them in.
- Equality: The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. (Oxford Dictionary). While equality is our goal, we recognize that intersectionality plays a significant role in what is fair and equitable. See equity for more information.
- Equity: Fairness or justice in the way individuals or groups are treated (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Equality and equity are frequently used interchangeably, but in our work, they are slightly different. Equity is more about finding fair and just solutions, based on intersectionality, rather than black and white equality across the board.
- Feminism - Many people have come to believe that feminism is an antagonistic movement against men, with the purpose of taking power away from men. This is not how we view it. When we speak of feminism, we are referring to the official, accepted definition from the Merriam Webster Dictionary, which is: "An advocate for the social, political, legal and economic rights for women, equal to those of men." For more information about our stance on feminism, please see our FAQ.
- Gender - Social and cultural identification of male and female. (World Health Organization)
- Gender Equality: The experience of affording women and men the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making. Also, when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured. (United Nations)
- Gender Equity: the process of allocating resources, programs and decision-making fairly to both men and women. Equality focuses on creating the same starting line for everyone. Equity has the goal of providing everyone with the full range of opportunities and benefits – the same finish line. (See equality and equity).
- Gender Gap: the systematic differences in the outcomes that women and men achieve in the labour market. These differences are seen in the percentages of women and men in the labour force, the types of occupations they choose, and their relative incomes or hourly wages.
- Gender Lens: Using the gender lens is like putting on glasses to bring different perspectives into focus. Through one lens of the glasses, you see the participation, needs and realities of women. Through the other lens, you see the participation, needs and realities of men. These glasses do not make you see something that is not there they just help you see clearer. The gender lens is important to our work because we serve to provide women's perspectives to city decision-making, perspectives that are currently under-represented.