We’re breaking the bias this International Women’s Day! It is a day that celebrates the triumphs and challenges the injustices of women, from all walks of life. For over 100 years, the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, has been a chance to look back at how far we’ve come but also how far we have to go. International Women’s Day encourages discussions, sharing, and reflection. This year is about breaking the bias in different places of all our lives.
What does “breaking the bias” mean?
There is a time-relevant theme for each international women’s day, last year looked at women’s challenges in light of Covid-19. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “breaking the bias.” This statement is about imagining and creating a world without bias, segmentation, and discrimination. Whether that be at home, society, and/or the workplace. It is an educational and inspirational chance to look at how other women have broken the bias in history. How we can learn from them? What can more we can do in the future to continue breaking the bias?
How do we break the bias in business?
1. Provide training on the subject matter
The main goal of breaking the bias is to recognise implicit gender bias in the workplace. To work on solutions you can enforce to combat it.
One way you can do this is by investing in gender sensitivity training. This can familiarise you and your employees with a range of elements involved in women’s professional experience. Such as respecting women in leadership and gender equity in the workplace.
2. Building a balanced talent pipeline
Beyond ensuring there are enough women in your workforce, it is crucial that they are in the position to be heard. Especially if they aspire to leadership positions.
You could do this by supporting and providing opportunities for career advancement for female employees, e.g. internal mentorship schemes with women in senior positions in your organisation.
3. Find ways to accommodate people with different needs
Uplift people who are disadvantaged by standard organisational structures. This can include:
- providing an accessible workspace for employees with disabilities
- offering kickstart opportunities to people who may struggle with employment due to inability to commit to standard working hours
- working with apprenticeship schemes, internship schemes, and youth-centered social groups to employ people who may have limited employment due to the inability to gain relevant experience.
4. Review the practices you enforce in the name of breaking the bias
Every organisation is unique, so combating gender bias will look different for different organisations. This means that ensuring female employees feel included in the company will be an ongoing responsibility.
Examples of women breaking the business bias
There are still many injustices that women face in business, but there have also been tremendous successes on the rocky road we have travelled (and worked) on. There are so many inspirational women to look up to in business. Ones that have not just broken the bias but smashed it to smithereens.
We’re big fans of Dragon’s Den in the office which includes two powerful women in business: Deborah Meaden and Sara Davies. The latter started her crafting business from her kitchen table to a 37-million-pound company. While her co-dragon Deborah is a serial entrepreneur from her long-running stint on the show, starting her business at age 19. They continue to help other women to break the bias on the show by setting a prime example for women watching at home or those hoping to seal an investment in the den.
The PR industry is also a great example of women being a powerhouse in an industry, with 61.3% of women making up the workforce. There is no real research to support why this is but it seems to be rooted in certain skill sets required; being collaborative and personal relationship building, to name but a few.
PR week has also recently launched an initiative to recognise 45 outstanding PR professionals over 45. This breaks the bias of gender and age within the workplace, two things that people are constantly being discriminated about.
Breaking the bias in AMBITIOUS
Here at AMBITIOUS, we have an organisation filled with amazing people in all different positions. We are very lucky to have inspirational women in charge to watch and learn from every day. They are constantly breaking the bias by being encouraging, communicative and celebratory in their employees’ efforts. Both of them get involved in their team and treat everyone as equals. We find them inspiring to how other companies can be as inclusive.
We have also had some great opportunities for learning within the company including an internship, a kickstart, and an apprenticeship. These have helped different women get into the industry through learning on the job, in a great environment that has opened up numerous more opportunities they might not have had otherwise.