Let's work together and continue to #BreakTheBias
What does it mean to #BreakTheBias?
Bias is defined as a prejudice against a particular group, idea or thing, which, in this case, is women.
Whether conscious or hidden, gender bias against women can permeate every part of their daily lives. Feminist book publisher Pan Macmillan highlights 22 gender inequalities, which include:
- The U.S. is one of only eight countries in the world that doesn’t provide any form of paid maternity leave by federal law
- In low-income countries, for every 100 boys who continue their education after high school, only 55 girls do the same
- Divorce has a greater negative impact on women financially than men
- Women are frequently misrepresented in the advertising and television
ongoing barrier to equal rights and inclusivity that, according to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, closing the global gender gap has increased by a generation, from 99.5 years to 135.6 years (2021).
Societal and workplace bias
Bias against women is witnessed in communities, workplaces, educational settings and further.
There is much discrimination occurring on a day-to-day basis, such as baby change facilities being located in the female toilets and women often being assumed to be the caregiver when a child is ill. To more significant bias, such as the gender pay gap, period poverty and maternal health, and disproportionate violence against women.
As Activist Caroline Criado Perez highlights in her book Invisible Women: Exposing data bias in a world designed for men, this disparity is even witnessed in unexpected areas, such as the design of transport systems worldwide, male-biased tech creation for the likes of smartphones and keyboards, and disproportionate space in public toilets for women.
Likewise, male-leaning bias can infiltrates the language we speak. Caroline highlights that even some job applications are automatically discriminatory against women, with job vacancies, especially leadership roles, announced with masculine forms.
As an example, Caroline highlighted that an Austrian study of the language used in leadership job ads found there to be a 27:1 ratio of masculine to 'gender-fair forms', which use both the male and female term.
Of course, language use isn't where bias in the workplace ends. Unconscious and conscious partiality is witnessed at all levels.
The McKinsey & Company’s 2021 annual study on Women in the Workplace found while women have made important gains in representation, and especially in senior leadership, the pandemic continues to take a toll and women are now significantly more burned out, and increasingly more so than men.
And while gains were made, according to the study, "There is still a “broken rung” at the first step up to manager."
"Since 2016, we have seen the same trend: women are promoted to manager at far lower rates than men, and this makes it nearly impossible for companies to lay a foundation for sustained progress at more senior levels," the report finds.
Highlighting the point further, the report found that for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted. As a result, men outnumber women significantly at the manager level, which means that there are far fewer women to promote to higher levels.
Other workplace gender bias includes unequal pay, maternal discrimination, and sexual harassment.
Working together to enact change
The good news is there is much that individuals, organizations, NGOs and governments can do to #BreakTheBias.
Working together, we can cultivate a more level playing field and help champion a more inclusive and equitable world.
Groups across the world are constantly working to help #BreakTheBias and there was much activity globally.
Using key action to help break the bias
Just Williams employees helped to #BreakTheBias
So what can you do to help promote and actively work to foster women's equality worldwide?
Here are some tips to help develop a more inclusive world, free from stereotypes.
- Immerse yourself in your community and be intentional about inclusion via local projects and events
- Create your own #BreakTheBias social media campaign rallying your community show their support and send in photographs of themselves
- Ask to speak at a local school or education settings to promote the theme and inspire future generatons about why it’s important to #BreakTheBias
- Create IWD theme resources for those in your office/friendship group/family to help them promote the theme
- Organize a fun, educational and immersive event that brings together diverse groups and channels action
- Mobilize those around you with a female-focused project, activity or initiative centered around how to #BreakTheBias
- Engage with the media and influencers to encourage campaign support
International Women’s Day promotes knowledge sharing as a way to motivate and inspire others - and events, large or small, provde a key way to spread the message about forging a gender inclusive world - yet activity lasts all year long of course.
However you choose to address bias, now is the time to make your voice heard and help raise awareness as we all collarorate to help #BreakTheBias.