08 Mar International Women’s Day: Break The Bias
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.–International Women’s Day Theme
Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. However, knowing that bias exists is not enough. Action is needed to level the playing field. The first IWD gathering was in 1911, and over a million people supported it. This annual observance continues to be recognized globally and helps spread awareness about the many issues women face worldwide due to gender inequalities.
According to Fearless, a women-centered initiative designed to help women be valued and supported in the workforce, the most significant issues facing American women in the workplace today are:
- The Childcare Crisis
- Unequal Pay
- Gender Parity in Leadership Positions
- Mental Health Stigmas
- Lack of Mentorship Opportunities
Each of us can show women how integral they are to our community, society, and future. We can break the bias in our communities, workplaces, schools, colleges, and universities. Here’s how:
Politicians and employers are unlikely to invest more in early childhood education and child care in the U.S. without pressure from the public. Fortunately, several affordable child care advocacy groups are working to increase public interest and awareness of the cause. You can get involved by contacting one of the following organizations:
Passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was first introduced in 2014, is long overdue. This legislation would prohibit retaliation against employees who discuss pay with coworkers and eliminate the perpetuation of pay discrimination caused by employers’ consideration of prior salary. In addition, the law would make it easier to challenge systemic pay discrimination through class action lawsuits, require legitimate, job-related reasons for pay disparities, and provide the same remedies available to employees who file similar civil rights claims.
Demand tenure for female professors
Women and people of color make less money and have less job security than their white male counterparts in academe, according to a new “snapshot” analysis of federal data from 2018 by the American Association of University Professors. “[The fact] that these data sets predate the advent of COVID-19 is cause for true alarm and [is] also a clear call to action,” Rana Jaleel, assistant professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies at the University of California, Davis, and chair of the AAUP’s Committee on Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, said in a statement.
Women make up 43% of full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 54% percent of full-time, non-tenure-track professors, according to the report. Salaries for female full-time faculty members are approximately 81% of men’s overall, and female tenure-track and tenured professors, in particular, make 82% of what their male counterparts do. Additionally, women are:
- 50% of the assistant professors.
- 45% of the associate professors.
- 34% of the full professors on campuses of higher learning.
The Journal of Psychiatry found that mental illness costs America more than $193 billion per year. That’s more than any other health problem, including heart disease, trauma, and cancer. Yet, mental health receives far less attention and investment than other diseases.
“Mounting evidence suggests that women are disproportionately exposed to risk factors linked to adverse mental health outcomes, including poor economic conditions, emotional and sexual abuse, and violence,” says Julie Slay, senior director at Arabella Advisors. “Yet health research in the last 20 years has made strikingly few advances when it comes to women’s mental health. Moreover, in the studies that have been conducted, women of color have frequently been so underrepresented that it is unclear whether the research findings even apply to them. Advocating for, and investing in, research that focuses specifically on women’s mental health and wellbeing can help establish a new and truer baseline for change.”
“Mentoring is one lever we can activate to advance more women in their work, to help them gain access to capital and economic opportunities they might otherwise miss, and to be better prepared for opportunities when they come,” says Pat Mitchell, author of Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World.
Collectively, we can #BreakTheBias.