Happy International Women’s Day today, and every day!
International Women’s Day has grown in popularity over the last several years, with nearly 80% of American and British adults being familiar with the holiday (although pinning it to March 8 is still a challenge for most!). Even better news: The majority of employed adults are seeing significant advancements being made in the workforce for women.
And with a strong theme – #BreakTheBias – this year’s campaign provides an even greater opportunity to shine a spotlight on the ongoing biases against women fueling gender inequality and helps facilitate discussion around how we can keep driving positive change.
It’s inspiring to see progress in eliminating the pay gap and breaking down the other long-standing barriers that have held women back from achieving true equality. The women actively participating in or leading these key movements are even more inspiring. At every level of the organization, women across Lucid have been vocal advocates for their peers and so many have challenged the status quo, again and again, to eliminate bias when they see it.
For this year’s International Women’s day, we wanted to share stories on what roadblocks they see women face and how they continue to #BreakTheBias:
Devyani Kandira on recognizing one of the biggest barriers to equality
“I wouldn’t say this is the biggest roadblock but the role of conditioning is definitely in the top 10. There is research to back the point that the confidence levels as boys progress into manhood “largely” remains unfazed, whereas many girls feel an overwhelming need to belong. This can mean they subdue their aspirations so as not to be perceived as boastful or controlling by others.
Still today many girls are raised to be polite and diplomatic, rather than bold and assertive. This conditioning stays with them as they grow up. They gradually adjust to fit in with traditional expectations of female communication: Don’t be too loud. Wait for your turn. Don’t interrupt. Let the other person finish. Don’t be pushy. Don’t brag.
Society continues to reward girls for being ‘good’ not audacious or ambitious, so it’s not surprising that so many choose to just play by the existing rules. Social realities reinforce these feelings of self-doubt, which in turn breeds internal roadblocks like impostor syndrome, fear of missing out (FOMO), and perfectionism that manifests in a woman’s career path.”
Faith Thomson on stepping in and speaking up each and every time you can
Sadly, instances of bias and discrimination towards women are still quite common in both professional and social environments – and I certainly don’t shy away from confronting them!
On one occasion, I overheard a male colleague making serious discriminatory comments towards a female colleague – such as suggesting that women do not deserve to be in senior professional roles, that their only place in life is “in the kitchen.”
Often misogynistic comments such as these are disguised and dismissed as “banter,” but it’s important for women to feel empowered to go to their HR department in situations like these. More importantly, they need to have confidence that they will be believed. This is exactly what I did, and I was encouraged to see the response from my HR representative, who took appropriate action against this individual.
Emel Mohammadally on the conscious decision to break biases
Structural sexism exists within our whole society, so understanding that first will be critical to the dismantling of it. At a base level, things like equal pay and equal maternity/paternity leave policies will start to shift the narrative for women at work. Beyond that, we need to actively address gender imbalances at all levels of the organization and ensure we are hyper-conscious of this during the hiring process. Being aware of unconscious bias and taking steps to not let harmful social stereotypes influence decisions will help make a real difference in building a more equal workforce.
Kasey Rumore on normalizing work-life balance, especially for parents
I think being a parent is still a roadblock for many women in the workforce. Having two young kids at home, I can confirm that the lack of childcare resources can hinder women’s equality. It’s so hard for many women to balance work and childcare. As a society, we could be doing so much better. COVID forced many parents to balance working from home with kids – which disproportionately affected women. I’m fortunate to have a job that gives me the flexibility to be a mom during a pandemic, but not everyone has that.
I think it also pressures women to feel like they need to have it all, be it all, and be the best at it. That pressure is detrimental to women’s equality, and sometimes I still find myself buying into it. We need to normalize work-life balance and do a better job of getting parents the child care resources they need.
Asata Puello on being an advocate for yourself and a champion for others
I’ve had to step up for myself so many times, especially as a Black woman. I’ve worked in some places where I experienced both discrimination and lack of diversity. I was in the military for 12 years, and at that time, roughly 1 out of 10 service members were female. I was told that I was being assigned to a job I didn’t want, which was very common for female service members. I refused to be pushed into that role and haven’t stopped advocating for myself since.
Additionally, when I have the chance to celebrate anyone, I do. That said, if I see a talented woman doing her thing and being successful, I’m absolutely going to celebrate that and publicly give her a cheer. I also try to help people become more independent and self-sustaining, and forging that way is something I aim for. Even if it’s just showing someone how to fix their email, I always want to help people take care of themselves. It streamlines success all around.