International Women’s Day (IWD) is a globally recognized day meant to celebrate and make visible the achievements of women, while continuing to promote a collective effort toward greater gender equity and equality.
This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity – a call to challenge gender stereotypes and discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion. International Women’s Day is not organization-specific; it belongs to all groups collectively, everywhere. This means everyone can do something, no matter how big or small the effort.
Western Union addresses this challenge both in our global workplaces and in the services we provide that can help women and families worldwide.
The Difference Between Equity and Equality
To embrace this year’s theme, we must first understand the difference between two closely related terms—equity and equality.
Equality means each person or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. In theory, having the same resources and opportunities sounds great, but when people have different starting points, abilities, and challenges, this step alone does not allow true inclusion.
Equity means that each person is given specific resources and opportunities based on their circumstances and tailored to help overcome the challenges of those circumstances. This allows everyone to be able to reach equal goals. Equity addresses imbalances in social and economic systems by giving people the tools they need to gain equal access.
How Western Union Embraces Equity for Customers, Employees & Communities
Many companies worldwide participate in International Women’s Day. The day and the #EmbraceEquity campaign helps us all reflect on our own biases and disparities in access to systems (financial, social, educational, etc.) everyone needs to thrive.
Western Union regularly focuses on creating equity for our global customers, employees and communities. Our efforts help enable financial equity, gender equity, and educational equity.
Embracing Equity for Customers
We know that millions of immigrants rely on Western Union to send money to support family in their home countries. We are one of the few financial institutions that bridge the digital and physical worlds to enable people to send and receive money and make payments to nearly every country in the world.
The way we help create financial equity is by offering as many options for sending and receiving money as possible to accommodate different geographic, cultural and socio-economic needs. For example, we have retail locations in post offices in Australia, the U.K. and close to 80 other countries for easy access to cash. In addition, in many countries, customers can also receive money transfers on debit cards or in mobile wallets that can be accessed on cellphones. Options are extremely important for equity because not everyone uses or has access to the same tools or institutions due to geographic, cultural or socio-economic differences.
Western Union provides services in over 200 countries and territories, customer service in 38 languages, and pay out in over 130 currencies. Plus, we work with partners across the globe to further ensure our customers get the most convenient access to money transfers whether online, via app, or in-store.
Embracing Equity for Employees
Like more and more companies, Western Union incorporates diversity, equity and inclusion into our hiring, management, and workplace policies and processes. While we still have work to do on this, we are proud to share our accomplishments, which include:
- In 2021, our approximately 10,500 employees represented 120 countries and spoke 54 languages.
- As of March 1, 20221, globally, women at the company earn more than 99 cents for every $1 earned by men (this figure accounts for relative pay factors, such as role, level, tenure, and geography)
- S. employees who identify as racially or ethnically2 diverse earn more than 99 cents for every $1 earned by Caucasian/white colleagues.
- Western Union has earned recognition for our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, including:
- A Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality (by the Human Rights Campaign)
- Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (3 years in a row)
- One of the Top 100 Companies Supporting Healthy Families and Communities (by JUST Capital)
Our commitment to gender equity is something we are very proud of. Note that, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 women globally earn around 37% less than men in similar roles. The organization estimates that women are 267.6 years away from gender parity in economic participation and opportunity. We can all play a part in closing that gap and speeding up that timeline.
Embracing Equity in Our Communities Worldwide
We also support gender equity, financial equity and more in communities through our Western Union Foundation.
The Western Union Foundation (the Foundation) seeks to empower disadvantaged youth and migrants to succeed in today’s global economy. One of the ways the Foundation does this is through a program called Opportunity Beyond Borders—a $15 million, 3-year global commitment to skill building, migrant inclusion, and crisis response that includes:
- Skill building to equip young people who lack access to education, employment, or training with market-relevant skills.
- Scholarships to students from low socio-economic backgrounds who have been accepted into higher education programs outside of their home countries.
- Research-informed programs that address systemic barriers and expand labor market access to help migrants achieve financial stability.
How You Can #EmbraceEquity on March 8
Ensuring gender equity does not just benefit those who are marginalized and discriminated against. It’s been consistently shown to be better for the bottom line of companies, economies, and countries worldwide. But achieving and maintaining equity requires awareness and action.
On March 8 (and any day), you can volunteer for an organization that fosters equity, donate to a related cause, raise awareness on social media, or lead discussions about bias and equity among your friends or coworkers.
Whether you are a customer, an employee, or a business partner of Western Union, #EmbraceEquity most likely has real-life meaning to you or someone you know. So, let’s all find ways to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, reveal and address our unconscious biases, and continue innovating new ways of creating equity for all genders and all people for a better world.
Send money with the Western Union mobile app
Use the most downloaded money transfer app to send money internationally for pick up in cash or to a bank account anytime, from anywhere.