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Imagine a gender-equal world.

A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Together we can forge women’s equality.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. 

Source: IWD 2022

Why is this conversation urgent?

According to the World Economic Forum survey here are some shocking statistics:

  • Women are 47% more likely to suffer severe injuries in car crashes because safety features are designed for men.
  • Globally, 12 million girls each year get married before the age of 18 – roughly 33,000 every day, or one every two seconds.
  • According to the UN, collectively these women spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water.
  • At the current rate of progress, it will take another 108 years to reach gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Gender Gap report.
  • According to the Forum’s Global Gender Gap report, only 22% of the world’s AI professionals are female, compared with 78% who are male. This accounts for a gender gap of 72% yet to close – and reflects the broader STEM skills gap.
  • Only 6 countries give women equal legal work rights as men
  • For every female film character, there are 2.24 men

Source: weforum.org, 2019

Imagine a gender-equal world…

Why Imagine? Why not Initiate? The United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day this year is under the theme:

 “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”

Initiate micro solutions for a macro impact. Breaking the bias with micro solutions, recognising a bias and initiating an action to eliminate it. This has been my guiding light-micro solutions. Below is a list of rudimentary level biases that exist, these are not even close to the more debatable issue of the gender gap, pay gap, equal rights or freedom. But these need immediate attention as recognising biases is the first step towards breaking them.

  1. Bias: Assertive Women are Bossy

Assertive men are leaders but assertive women are bossy? This is an implicit bias, it has become a belief, hence assertive women are labelled as uncaring, rude, bossy and other inappropriate words that I refrain from writing. Women raising their voices are creating a scene while men raising their voices are macho, for example, in a movie a male protagonist is considered rugged and macho when asserting themselves. Same behaviour but different labels?

  1. Bias: Women are Homemakers

Women are entrepreneurs, women are state leaders, women are mothers, women are friends, women are change-makers, women are thought leaders, women are scientists, women are astronauts, women are artists and the list goes on…so why limit women by branding women as only homemakers? Changing the way we perceive societal roles is a step towards breaking the bias.

  1. Bias: Women aren’t Bread Winners

This bias limits women in many ways and leads to the gender gap in the work environment. Since society has assumed that women aren’t breadwinners, there is hardly any conversation happening about bridging the pay gap. Same responsibilities, same performance expectations but different salaries?

  1. Bias: “Frailty, thy name is Woman”

With due respect to Shakespeare, I disagree with this quote. It became so popular that it was miscommunicated even as “Jealousy, thy name is Woman”. While it can be argued that Shakespeare wrote it for a specific context hence it gained popularity, I personally would contradict and argue that it became popular as it further generalised women derogatorily and not men. Women having survived generations of abuse and violence, I re-quote, “Intrepidity, thy name is Woman”.

  1. Bias: Women have to be Beautiful

When it comes to beauty a women’s appearance and physical features are the only factors considered to label them beautiful or not. Pick up any matrimonial advert, dating website profile or brand promotion, the expectations are ridiculous. Women have to be thin with curves; fair with tanned skin; porcelain smooth skin with freckles; tall but not more than the man next to her; mature but not too old; and many more impossible conditions that define beauty in an almost misogynous way. I use the word ‘misogynous’ as the standards of beauty only lead to furthering the bias against women creating hatred towards those who do not meet these standards. This has led to objectifying women as desirable and pleasing for certain purposes only. This bais demands societal intervention in defining the beauty of a human, not a woman. 

  1. Bias: Women don’t Understand Math

Math engages critical thinking, creative thinking and problem-solving skills. These competencies are well mastered by women as all our lives we have been trying to solve real-life problems with or without mathematics. The innate ability of deductive reasoning comes naturally to women as research indicates that girls mature intellectually earlier than other genders.

  1. Bias: Women want Security

In other words, women are insecure! The definition of security is having a man to protect the woman. Patriarchial and marital norms that force women to accept men as guardians further lead to gender power imbalance and disparity. Women want independence, not security. Independence to make choices about their lives, careers and themselves and their bodies. Generally speaking, security should never be wanted by women or even men, it should be warranted by society. 

  1. Bias: Menstruating Women are Emotionally Unstable

This has been the biggest myth that has been repeatedly reinforced. If emotional stability is linked with hormones all genders undergo changes. Surprisingly, men’s hormone cycles fluctuate from morning to evening every single day. If menstruating women are emotionally unstable then why don’t we see it every day in the workplace, at home, in schools, in colleges, at parties, on adventure trips, in conferences, in the gym, in soccer fields, where at least a few dozen women are going through their monthly cycle. This is evidence of highly emotionally stable individuals who despite massive discomfort and pain bring stability to the world around them.

  1. Bias: Women are Delicate

Yes, physically women might be more delicate but they are emotionally more resilient. When it comes to decision making and making tough choices women should not be stereotyped as delicate. Infact research proves women in leadership and positions of responsibilities are more tenacious, principled and very capable at decision making.

  1. Bias: Pro-women is Anti-men

A person who can take care of themself can take care of others. If women are demanding their rights, they are only trying to take care of themselves. Pro-women is pro-humanity and most men are pro-women (thank God!). That doesn’t mean they are anti-men. Supporting women in securing their social and human rights is a step towards securing a sustainable future economically and socially. Pro-women is Pro-future.

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