On March 8th, the global community observed International Women’s Day 2022 under the theme, “Break the Bias”. Three simple individual words, which when put together evoke a strong and definitive call to action. Though the official day is over, the Month of Women, and indeed the perennial struggle for meaningful, lasting change continues.
At the risk of sounding hackneyed and harangued, for far too long, women, within general society and specifically in the workplace, have often been given the figurative short end of the stick. This reality has been precipitated by the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has increased the domestic burden on many women to provide physically and emotionally for their families, despite numerous successes.
While women have arguably achieved much ground-breaking endeavours in the corporate world, they are still banging their heads on the glass ceiling as opposed to breaking it, on account of deeply-entrenched socio-cultural systems that view their unique accomplishments and equal challenges as “inferior” to that of men. As a consequence, low-pay, sexual harassment and a lack of workplace polices that promote equity as much as equality remain the prevailing norm.
Nevertheless, where there is life, there is hope. Here are three (3) ways that you can help break the bias in business, whether you are an employer, employee or manager:
1. Be an ADVOCATE: Work behind the scenes of your environment in tandem with other stakeholders to brainstorm and enact policies that can create a more equitable corporate environment for female workers. For example, championing paid maternity leave, providing facilities for the safe and hygienic disposal of sanitary napkins, and even encouraging women to bring their children to work (in a safe space for them), can mark the start of a paradigmatic shift in creating a more female-friendly situation .
2. Be an ACTIVIST: Take your concerns and suggestions for reducing the gender disparity at work on issues such as underrepresentation at the healm of the workplace, lack of regular promotions and opportunities for female leadership growth and development, to your colleagues and seniors. Whether through the use of virtual or physical posters, pro-female campaigns involving the wearing of solidarity colours, activities that the entire workplace can participate in, or, utilizing traditional and/or social media to share what your organization is doing (or should do) to reduce gender disparity in the workplace, be vocal and visible.
3. Be an ALLY: You don’t have to be female to lend your tangible support toward breaking the bias. You can sign petitions, as well as you can start petitions. Likewise, you can speak out in support of colleagues who are experiencing gender discrimination, including sexual harassment. You can donate to non-governmental organizations that champion these and similar causes. Finally, you can volunteer of your time, energy and professional skills to assist their efforts.
Breaking the bias is not an easy feat, but, it can be done. Be bold and courageous!
Keywords: LinkedIn Local Caribbean, gender bias, advocate, activist, ally