When women suffer from injustice and discrimination, we all suffer because they are our mothers, friends, lovers and daughters.
We live in an imperfect world where bias, prejudice and discrimination exist. Women’s equality is among the most persistent human rights challenges in the world. As the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias, we want to encourage people to commit to forging an inclusive world by changing mindsets and taking action to support equality.
What can women do?
1. Know your rights
There is value in each individual. Human rights are basic rights that belong to all of us simply because we are human. Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights. You deserve to be safe and you deserve reciprocity.
2. Support other women
None of us has it easy. The barriers to success for women can feel insurmountable at times. Supporting other women and their work can make a difference between them quitting or continuing in their journey.
3. Heal yourself
If you have any biases, examine them. They may be a result of your own internalised negative experiences and they need healing. We owe it to ourselves to live our lives fully and fearlessly.
4. Raise your voice
Your voice matters. You can speak up for other women as a woman. Voices amplify, direct and change the conversation. Practice asserting yourself during meetings, take credit for your work and contribute to your community.
What can men do?
1. Share the workload
In your household, commit to sharing household chores, parenting responsibilities and other unpaid work in a balanced manner. Share the responsibility of creating a safe environment for vulnerability to be freely expressed.
2. Heal your own bias
Do you find yourself making excuses for men and typecasting women? Examine where that’s coming from and get educated on your actions – it’s crucial to creating a space where there’s fairness and accountability.
3. Call out sexism and harassment
Be an active bystander by disrupting the status quo and challenging your peers on things like catcalling, mansplaining and inappropriate sexual jokes. Sexism, disrespectful behaviour and harassment in public and private places need to stop – you can speak up and step up. Ask others for help if you feel unsafe doing so alone.
4. Hire women
Ask about the inclusive policy at your workplace. Recognise that the more inclusive companies win because of the diverse views from everyone who has a place at the table. Women are just as, if not more, qualified for a job and should be hired at equal pay.
Everyone has the right to make decisions about our body, wellbeing, family and future. If we have any biases that may be driving our reaction to what others are doing, consider the circumstances that make their lives different from ours. As each of us takes it upon ourselves to learn and think critically about others, we can work towards ending biases and making the world a better place.