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Woman's Trust - IWD 2022

International Women’s Day is March 8. A day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s also a time to reflect on where we should be doing more. This year’s focus, #BreakTheBias imagines a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world where diversity and difference are valued and celebrated, while challenging us to #BreakTheBias (or biases, because we all have more than one) that is stopping gender equality becoming a reality.

At its core #BreakTheBias is about recognising moments, small and large, when a comment or action holds back an individual or a group of people from fulfilling their full potential. #BreakTheBias encourages us to stop and observe ourselves and others in the moment. To recognise the biases, both conscious and unconscious, that are holding back true equality.

Bias is all around us. It’s part of being human.

We see it in the companies we work for with predominantly male boards. The Pipeline Women Count found that FTSE 350 Companies had more CEOs who are named Peter than who are women, despite companies with women on their executive committee being more profitable.

We see it daily in our work at Woman’s Trust, where we provide free mental healthcare for survivors of domestic abuse, but where the national conversations about domestic abuse and mental health often ignore each other despite the overwhelming link. We also see it in the survivors who come to us, confused or ashamed to seek help because their trauma and experience wasn’t physical violence.

Our bias keeps us blind. Stops us from noticing, allows issues to go undetected or unchallenged and therefore remain unaddressed. It stops equality.

This year’s International Woman’s Day encourages you to:

  • #BreakTheBias in your thoughts and actions. Hear what you say to yourself and others. Do you make assumptions based on gender, ethnicity, or groups of people? Where do these assumptions extend? Are you family roles, for example, gender based?

  • #BreakTheBias in the media you consume and in the company you choose. Notice the language used in the social media you follow, the gender-based assumptions in films and television you watch, or gender bias in the news you listen to or the podcast you follow. Notice the conversations you have and are involved in.

  • #BreakTheBias by being brave and challenging it where you see and hear it, if it is safe to do so. Start a non-judgemental conversation by recognising we all have bias, and that it separates us from the fact that we are all equal. Remember that having bias, doesn’t make you a bad person. You can confront it, recognise it, challenge your thoughts. Consider how your assumption can be overturned and make a change to what may be holding back equality.

On this International Women’s Day, and beyond, will you strike the pose and #BreakTheBias?


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