IWD is one of those rare globally celebrated events that unites and envelopes all of us with the spirit of great celebration, inspiration and collective momentum for change – by all of us, I mean all of us.
I’ve walked in a number of marches focused on women’s rights, I’ve attended a number of IWD events, I have read (and continue to read) countless books and research pieces on women’s progress in the workplace, in society, globally, locally, financially and so on. And, yes, I have yelled on countless occasions at the television.
Today, I concentrate my efforts on self-reflection and practice self-awareness (just like yoga, you get better and more flexible at this with constant and considered practice). I observe, I listen more intently. Above all, I question those around me, in-depth questions, challenging questions. This is part of my journey in changing and challenging my own thinking as well as the thinking of those around me. I need to confront my own biases in order to understand how others around me express themselves. From here we can work together.
I absolutely love this years’ IWD theme – #BreakTheBias. It throws the gauntlet down at all of us. I urge all of us to work on our own biases to engender a more authentic and inclusive workplace.
I leave you with two quotes – equally punchy and deeply poignant.
“What goes unsaid is that women might be more ambitious and focused because we’ve never had a choice. We’ve had to fight to vote, to work outside the home, to work in environments free of sexual harassment, to attend the universities of our choice, and we’ve also had to prove ourselves over and over to receive any modicum of consideration.” Roxane Gay, from Bad Feminist Essays
“There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman. There is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership”. Angelina Jolie, I think you know her...
When it comes to closing the gap on gender bias – words do matter. Listen to yourself. Listen to others. Above all, call it out. As the inimitable Rita Agati kept reminding us, ‘It’s not OK’.
Dolores Diez is a Non-Executive Director of the Viridian Financial Group Ltd and Director of the Viridian Foundation.