On March 8th, we celebrate International Women's Day. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge: We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. And from challenge comes change. So let's all #ChooseToChallenge.
In this blog post, I will share the thoughts I have around Women's day this year with the help of five questions.
What do gender bias and inequality mean?
I like to start with defining terms to ensure that we understand what they mean. Gender Bias is defined as the unfair difference in the way women and men are treated, while Gender Inequity is defined as the social process by which men and women are not treated as equals.
What do gender bias and inequality mean to me?
Growing up In Nigeria, the culture propagates that there are significant differences between men and women. There is a mindset that women are weaker, and they are not given equal access to opportunities. It starts with limiting the belief in what girls can become when they grow up to being trained to think that the highest accomplishment for a woman is getting married and having children. There were so many examples of women that I knew who were not set up for success and fully dependent on the men in their lives.
Fast forward to now, building my career as a woman in technology, bias and inequities exist in different ways. Ranging from the way people apply a gender lens when they view my contribution to not having access to the same networks and opportunities because of my gender. Another inequity that I experience is around compensation for the work that I do compared to my male peers.
How do we challenge inequality and bias when we see it?
Challenging inequity and bias is not the easiest thing to do. This International Women's Day theme is special because it reminds me that we need to choose to challenge and call out gender inequity and bias. Sometimes, I feel like I can challenge bias or inequity when it happens to others, more than when it is happening to me. Being an advocate and ally for others comes easily to me. I have learned that there is power in speaking out when we see something wrong. Furthermore, we can make a huge difference when we empower others to stand against the bias that they experience.
How do we train our children to challenge inequality?
As we continue to fight inequity, it is crucial that we pass on the knowledge to the next generation. Our sons and daughters need to be educated about inequity and the role they can plan to make the world more inclusive. I feel responsible for teaching my son, nieces, and nephews that they are equal and can achieve everything they want to do irrespective of their gender. I know that I can influence the next generation through the children that are in my family or the ones I meet. Thinking about the next generation and how we can change the world through them gives me hope.
What concrete actions can we all take to create a more inclusive world?
The great news is that we can all take action against gender bias and inequity. I came up with a list of three concrete things that we can all do. Firstly, we can increase the visibility of the biases we see every day. Secondly, we can uplift women and celebrate their accomplishments. Finally, we can collaborate with and support people who need a small boost to shine.
As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us celebrate our awesomeness and the amazing women in our lives. Take a moment to reflect on your strength as a woman. Happy Women's Day to all the women out there who are working to make the world a better place!
Time for Reflection
How are you going to challenge inequity and gender bias in your life?
How will you uplift the women in your life?
How will you celebrate yourself today?