Here’s our chance to embrace equity


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“They are the only ones that can procreate.”

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“They are the only ones that can procreate.”

“They birth everybody.”

These are the reasons why women “run the world,” according to two Toronto Raptors players.

Last week, the NBA team released a video meant to celebrate and empower women during Women’s History Month in the U.S. The video, which was posted to Twitter but quickly deleted after it garnered plenty of backlash, shows three players responding to the question: “Beyoncé said girls run the world. Why do you think that’s true?”

The third player answered, “All women are great because they’re all queens.”

The team’s intention to highlight women is commendable. However, the delivery was not. The video drew sharp criticism because it perpetuates the idea that women’s inherent value lies in their reproductive capabilities. As one Twitter user pointed out, not all women can, or want, to give birth.

In a statement to the Toronto Star on Thursday, the Raptors said: “We’re an organization that prides itself on doing the right thing when it comes to inclusion and representation, and we made a mistake yesterday. Our sincerest apologies to our players, our staff and our fans — we’ll work to do better today and every day after.”

Many Twitter users questioned why the team apologized, not understanding, or agreeing with the issue at hand. By scrolling through the seemingly endless stream of misogynistic comments, it’s evident that ignorance never rests. While the video may seem harmless to some, it’s a symptom of the overall discrimination and gender-based violence women face every day. Despite years of advocacy, women are still fighting for jurisdiction over their bodies, and this video only served to disempower them further.

It’s hard to believe the Raptors — and their public relations team — couldn’t come up with more sufficient answers. For example, they could’ve used the video to bring attention to pay gaps between male and female athletes, or the recently overturned Roe v. Wade decision. As a major sports franchise, they had an opportunity to celebrate women in front of a massive fan base, comprised mostly of men, but they missed the mark.

This isn’t about “cancel culture,” either, as some Twitter users have insisted. It’s about holding organizations and individuals accountable — especially those who’ve been propped up on a pedestal — so we as a society can cultivate more inclusive spaces where everyone has equitable opportunity.

This is why we have holidays like Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, which is coming up on Wednesday, to draw attention to ongoing issues and create opportunities for positive change.

And that’s the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. Organizers are encouraging people to “embrace equity,” which involves meeting people where they’re at and providing them with the specific tools they need to succeed.

“When we embrace equity, we embrace diversity, and we embrace inclusion. We embrace equity to forge harmony and unity, and to help drive success for all. Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there,” the IWD website says.

This doesn’t fall on just women and gender-diverse people, either. Everyone has a role to play.

What will yours be?

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