Ben Hobbis portrait

Written by Ben Hobbis

Teacher, Middle Leader and DSL. Founder of EdConnect and StepUpEd Networks.

Equity (noun) – the quality of being fair and impartial.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is embracing equity. I have to admit over five years ago, if you asked me what this word meant, I could not have told you. I was uneducated and naïve in this area. I had to educate myself.

Five years ago, I would have said I was a champion for equality. I had done this in my previous roles in retail, particularly when it came to recruiting. In my last store, I had a very diverse team across the nine protected characteristics across the Equality Act. And this recruitment was not tokenistic, we had a fantastic team who were brilliant at what they did, and their diversity all brought something to the table. What I did not realise at that time was that I actually was a champion for equity, without knowing it. I was also an ally, but I did not recognise this either.

I believe I am a real champion for equity. This comes down to my allyship. As a white, able bodied, straight male, I have a duty to champion, advocate and push for equity. I see this in my day job as a teacher. As the champion for those 30 children who I serve, I must be the one to challenge decision making that directly impacts my children, decisions that affect them both negatively and positively. As a leader in a school, I must champion equity of opportunity. For example, as Personal Development Leader, one of the first things I enacted was to remove the Head Boy and Head Girl positions, they were limiting because of sex. We now have a mixture of students involved with our student leadership and pupil voice systems. And I am pleased to say in a boy heavy school, we have a large group of girls leading from the front and I am so proud to watch and champion them. As the leader of a grassroots network, I am constantly challenging colleagues in terms of the diversity of event line ups and who our intended audience is.

I recognise, I have not had it as hard as my female counterparts (but also my counterparts who are BAME, LGBTQ+ and so on). Therefore, I must embrace equity in my life and my work. We should all be striving to create an equitable society and not allow equity to be ignored. Embrace equity!