Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day finds its way to us again this March. In 2022, we are asked to “Break the Bias” – a bold ask. Previous themes have included #ChooseToChallenge, #EachforEqual, #BalanceforBetter, #PressforProgress – but none so provocative as a demand to disrupt. To shatter. To extinguish.
This isn’t by accident. The movement toward gender parity has been marginal in recent years to the detriment to womens’ physical health, our mental wellbeing and, believe it or not, global GDP. The trend is clearly not sustainable, and our old ways of thinking and operating must shift.
Women continue to face strong headwinds in the workplace and in society, including entrenched biases and discriminatory behaviors around:
- Child marriage
- Gender-based violence
- Child labor
- Labor-force participation rate
- Unpaid care work
- Family planning
- Financial inclusion
- Digital inclusion
- Legal protection
While not exhaustive, that list may certainly seem exhausting. It will take all of us, though, and you can help #BreakTheBias by committing to what seem like even the most mundane decisions and behaviors. It takes some intention and a willingness to operate outside of your mental “auto-pilot”.
Here are some pointers on where to start:
- Read, watch and listen to women and their stories.
- Promote and credit women’s expertise in typically male-dominated areas (i.e., science, politics, business, sports, certain trades, etc.
- Support women in films and media.
- Buy from or contract with women-owned businesses.
- Call out sexism, harassment, and negative masculinities.
- Men – talk about this with other men! Be an advocate and an example for change.
- Encourage your children to play outside of gendered traditions. Boys should feel as comfortable and empowered pushing a doll in a stroller as they do pushing Hot Wheels around a track. Girls should feel at ease wrapping a toy tool belt around the waist of their princess dress. Play happens across a spectrum – encourage your children to explore it in its fullness.
- Share the care. Women take on up to three times the amount of unpaid care and domestic work that men do – which means less time for work or self-fulfillment, and potential heightened risk of physical or mental illness.
- Call for equal work culture. Advocate for women in leadership and boardrooms, and for leadership styles that are not necessarily “masculine”. Find out what your company’s stance on pay equity is. Take advantage of gender equality or discrimination education.
- Talk about gender equity at home. Talking about it brings it out into the open; being out in the open takes away the mystery and tension; that in turn makes it easier to discuss with our partners, parents and children.
Every one of us – with a constellation of family, friends, colleagues, peers and perhaps a variety of other platforms – holds incredible power to make change. If you look out on the horizon, though, it’s possible. Be bold enough to take the next steps toward – however small. Then the next. And the next. #BreakTheBias – it’s a bold, audacious, and unshrinking request. We get there together though, building upon each small movement forward.
To learn more from Leila Cranford, check out her full company profile. With more than 20 years of end-to-end experience in marketing research, Leila’s work has powered million-dollar decisions for the brands you know and the companies you care about.
Let us help you make women’s equity part of your work culture or wherever you lead, and together we can #BreakTheBias. Contact us at LetsGo@DiversityCrew.com to get started today.