Bias: it’s something we’ve all got. It easily influences our interactions with others, and it’s often the reason we try to create neat little boxes to fit them in. Our biased expectations can make it difficult, even uncomfortable, to see them from any other perspective.
Bias can be incredibly limiting for women and girls. Sometimes, it’s why a woman is denied a fair shot at a promotion at her workplace or why her responsibilities as a mother are used to justify excluding her from certain opportunities. Bias can make it hard for a family to support a girl’s dream of working in tech or engineering, simply because they can’t see how she fits into that career space. The weight of bias often means having to work harder than everyone else for validation and the chance of recognition.
Break The Bias
The theme of this International Women’s Day is a challenge to #BreakTheBias as we question our gender stereotypes and imagine a world without them, a truly inclusive world where we are all free from discrimination. The most powerful change always starts within, and I have been examining my own personal bias. Some of it is rooted in culture, others in the environments I have been exposed to. The great thing is that I have the power to change all of them — one thought and action at a time — and so do you. Each of us has a role to play in creating an equal world.
A lot of the time, asking for equity for women is made to sound like a threat to men and manhood, but this is a false narrative. Men don’t have to fall for women to rise, because we can rise together with mutual respect for what we collectively bring to the table. A more equitable society that improves women’s livelihoods makes financial independence a reality for families much quicker than one where gender-based income disparity thrives. A world where all women are free from bias will also mean greater overall fulfilment, ultimately resulting in a better quality of life.
I believe it will take three things to #BreakTheBias: a willing mindset, consistent advocacy and strategic action. At KAEME, we’re committed to championing the personal and professional growth of our predominantly female staff. We will continue to achieve this through training and recognition programs that nurture their strengths, inspire them to think creatively and reward their hard work. We will also collaborate with others who share our values and work towards greater inclusivity for women.
Let’s keep the conversation going. How do you think you can #BreakTheBias at home, in your community or even online? I’d be happy to hear your thoughts and learn from you.
Chief Mixer, KAEME