Happy International women's Day! Every year on March 8th we celebrate women’s day. It is not just a day, it is a month we are reminded of different issues around the topic of gender and women empowerment. While writing a small caption to post on my social media about this day, I took some time and reflect on this year's theme “An equal world is an enabled world”. I found asking myself as a young person (a man) what does it mean to me.
Living in an era where we are called to respect different perspectives on different topics such as gender, I didn’t want to just be woke on social media without fully relate to the topic.
Before you proceed reading this article: Here are the tasks I ask you to do as a social experiment to understand this article better;
Task 1: Ask a few people around you what gender comes into their mind when they think about people in these professions; Doctor, Pilot, Soldier etc.
Task 2: Recall adverts you have seen on financial services, who did you see on them? What gender is often used when promoting a product that is unisex i.e. Mortgages, Business Accounts etc
Task 3: Repeat task 2, however this round, recall adverts promoting house products like cleaning and cooking products, furniture etc
Have you seen the issue? Most will have already seen what I’m getting at.
We are raised in a culture that exposes us to existing predispositions on issues of gender. This has developed in us the so-called Unconscious Bias. This affect how we view the position of a man and a woman in different social settings. In my view, this is the biggest constraint of diversity and the number one enemy of equality.
These gendered perceptions of products/services that we see and use (consciously or unconsciously) often reinforce the stereotypes and biases that imply the role and status of women. Even when we say that we are very open-minded and not prejudiced, these biases still creep upon us. Unconscious Bias applies in many things i.e. race or age and not just gender. Both men and women can also be biased to their own gender or the other.
As we strive to achieve equality; we need to communicate more on being self-aware and bring these biases to greater awareness. Being aware of our own unconscious bias will help to take control of our thoughts. Individually, we're all responsible for our thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias and broaden perceptions. Each one of us can help create a gender-equal world. Let's all be #EachforEqual.
By Amani Shayo on 17 Sep 2020
By Amani Shayo on 14 Jul 2020