In 2022, International Women’s Day is celebrated today, on March 8th. The important event is honored each year to acknowledge the contribution and strength of women globally. Women have been marginalized throughout history, so days like this are important to reflect on the societal progress we’ve made and to look ahead into a more equal future.
This year, the International Women’s Day theme is “Break The Bias.” Subconscious prejudice against women can be in the back of our minds shaping how we view situations. Don’t just take it from us, a United Nations study showed that 90 percent of people are biased against women. Depending on class, race, and location, this bias leaks into women’s lives with varying degrees of impact.
Eliminating bias in medicine may be of the biggest importance, with statistics showing that women’s symptoms are less likely to be taken seriously and their risk of death is also increased.
Bias in the workplace is also a big issue. According to Lean In, around three-quarters of women experience bias at work globally, plus, studies have shown it’s harder for them to be hired and promoted. Here, unconscious bias creates a barrier economically for women, contributing to income inequality.
Knowledge is power
The trickiest part of all of this is most of us aren’t even aware of this unconscious bias. It’s not like 90 percent of the population goes about life trying to purposely put women down. It’s so ingrained into our world view, most of the time we can’t even spot it. The same workplace study from Lean In showed that less than a third of employees are able to recognize bias when confronted with it. So how do we move forward?
Like in every part of life, knowledge sets you free. The #BreakTheBias theme this International Women’s Day hopes to give the population just this. By bringing to light our unconscious behaviors we can work together towards a more equal future.
The next step for individuals is reflection to try and recognize where bias against women may pop up in day-to-day life. Ask yourself, would I have acted/felt differently in this scenario if I was a different sex? Are women overlooked in my place of work? What opinions do I have about women that may be shaped through unconscious bias?
Collectively we can break the bias and take action towards equality for all.