International Women’s Day #PressForProgress

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It’s International Womens Day, and the campaign is #PressForProgress So that’s what I’m doing. Pressing the buttons on my tiny phone keyboard! Today I write this on a speeding train across the country, I’m peering out over snow capped hills and I’m smiling because what I’m about to write is passion peice from my heart, and it is full of fire.

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I’ve had my own thoughts brewing about gender parity. So today I thought I could raise some awareness on Unconscious Bias and it’s impact and to also celebrate the bonds of sisterhood, because where would we be without our cheerleaders rights?!

Unconscious Bias / Accidentally Discrimination

What am I on about, I hear you ask?! So, to be bias by its definition is to exclude or single out in favor or against an individual or group of people. So doing it unconsciously means just that, not done deliberately. It could be an affinity with another person because they share the same values as you, or an exclusion because they don’t have the same upbringing. 

At this point I think it’s important I acknowledged bias. Through my own life experience I am quick judge older males in positions of authority to be ignorant of women’s issues. There’s probably more but I think it’s important to reflect on your own bias’s that maybhave formed for whatever reason, we all have them!

However the reason I want to start this conversation is because recognising the part it plays in gender parity is so important. Did you know that in almost every educational subject women and girls excel over their male counterparts? Yet when it comes to translating that success in the work place the gap in pay is a chasm, the career promotions are considerably and comparatively low.  This is known as the Paula Principle, by Dr Tom Schuller. Sas Petherick has had him on her podcast and it’s such an informative interview.

My personal experience being on the receiving end of unconscious bias is many. I won’t list them here but below are some examples to look out for and the impact it has.

  1. Denied an interview despite CV being perfect for at least selection. This could be down to having a name perceived as “foreign”, or educational background not favoured. 
  2. Asked to take the notes in a meeting and it is assumed the only female is appropriate to provide the secretariat role. 
  3. Losing out to promotion because you’ve been pigeon-holed to your current role because you are successful at it. 
  4. Being cut off mid sentence in a meeting  

Obviously this isn’t exhaustive but as you can see just from these few is it any wonder that parity has not been achieved? 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The fight continues, with many miles to go, yes. There are so many great campaigns and organisations out there tackling the root causes inequality. I hope to play my own part in mentoring young women in schools. There is scheme I can join through my workplace which allows me to do just that. My own workplace also has a Women in Leadership programme which I will be joining, the first workshop will be providing a toolkit help us ask for more, again all in the name of gender parity. I hate to sound like a Tesco advert but EVERY LITTLE HELPS! 

And if that’s not enough, I want to just finish this post off with regaling you a tale of sisterhood. 

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 Will You Be My GALentine?  

Just a little over a month ago I, along with Rida, Lucy and Tori organised and held the Galentines Insta Social. My biggest worry with putting an event on was that no one would turn up. I knew deep down that it was just the “fear” but still, I couldn’t help but think “why would anyone want to hang out with me?” But then something amazing happened. Tickets were purchased, and people came. Women. I found myself stood in Trof, surrounded by smiling women. Embraced. Laughed with, chinking glasses, playing games, opening up to, snapping pictures, celebrating each other. It was sisterhood in real life, #communityovercompetition in the flesh, and it was magnetic.  My best pal in the whole world was there too. She made me brave and I’ll never forget it.

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The women in my life have been my inspiration in so many ways. To my mother, I want to say thank you for being the pillar that held up the family dynamic, you worked your bottom off and raised us to be well balanced individuals. To my sister, thank you for challenging me to embrace with fun and gusto.  And to the man in my life, Alex. Thank you for giving me a stage to shine.

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Rabya LomasComment