This week we're celebrating International Women's Day and this year's theme is Breaking The Bias.
What does it mean to 'break the bias'?
We all carry bias - that’s just part of being human - so it’s important to be aware of it and challenge it, starting with yourself.
Most of us are familiar with the idea of gender bias, but we might not be aware of how deep our bias goes - labelling a woman bossy rather than assertive, thinking she isn’t making an effort because she’s not wearing makeup, or saying that women can’t take jokes and are dramatic.
So what can we do?
Spend some time identifying how you hold gender bias.
When you think of a mechanic, what comes to mind? what about when you think of a doctor? or a nurse?
Now, what does that looks like in your work, or uni? Come up with proactive things you can do to change your behaviour and thinking.
Give yourself some credit!
Studies show women are less inclined to self-promote than men, so don’t take women’s lack of self-promotion as a sign she’s not confident or interested.
Look for ways to encourage women to put themselves forward for promotions at work, new opportunites in life, introduce them to people who can help them, and champion them when asked about them!
And women - take heart and be bold.
Whether you're in a meeting at work, or just having a big group convo, make space for women to talk and feel like their voice is being heard. Ask for their input if you notice they may be shying away.
Look, change is bloody hard and can feel really confronting.
But having those uncomfortable convos when you see gender bias in play is key. Also, if some one talks to you about how you might be able to change your bias, being able to keep an open mind.
Support and encourage your guy mates and male workmates to do school runs, take parental leave, and stay home to look after the kids if they're sick.
We all carry bias, but it’s up to us what we do about it.