Embracing equity

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This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, with a ‘self love,’ hugging visual that people worldwide are all recreating to show their support.

Organisers of the campaign have highlighted the choice to use the word equity to emphasise how “equal opportunities are no longer enough” and can actually be ‘exclusionary’ rather than inclusive. Essentially, equity is all about recognising that every person has different circumstances, and may need varying resources and opportunities to reach an equal outcome.

The whole month of March is also dedicated to marking Women’s History Month for the UK, US and Australia.

I saw that beer brand, Miller Lite, has launched an initiative, ‘Bad $#!T to Good $#!T,’ which sees the brand creating fertiliser made from old sexist beer advertising that will be used to grow hops for female brewers. Miller Lite’s campaign video – featuring producer, comedian and actor Ilana Glazer – much like the brand’s Fourth of July release in 2022, emphasises women’s crucial role in the history of beer making. Glazer then goes on to state: “Centuries later, how did the industry pay homage to the founding mothers of beer? They put us in bikinis.” You only need to read the comments below the video to understand that even the beer industry’s consumers still have a way to go in making progress against sexist behaviour.

There is a lot of positive in Miller Lite’s act, but some are also arguing that by removing the sexist beer adverts it also acts as a sort of wiping out its history, and on this, I can see their point: it’s good to document progress, and that includes taking notice of and understanding the not-so-great parts of history.

The metal packaging and manufacturing industries are still very much male-dominated, with women making up less than a third of the manufacturing workforce. In publishing, we’re a bit better off, but even as an editor reporting on the can world, I still get a lot of introductory emails addressed to ‘Mr Rivers.’ Let’s turn that corner and stop assuming, please.

On a positive note, it’s been great seeing companies show their support for #IWD2023, but even better to see those (like Ardagh Group, Ball Aerosol Packaging, CPM and Industrial Physics to name but a few) who are actively sharing stories and interviews from women who are playing pivotal roles in their operations and creating change.

Do get in contact if you have a story you believe is worth sharing with the rest of the industry, either as part of International Women’s Day or for Women’s History Month.

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