International Women’s Day (IWD) marks the celebration of women’s successes and triumphs. It is also an annually recognized day, since its inception in 1911, to highlight the impact of challenging gender imbalance and inequality spread across the globe. The #BreakTheBias movement is the theme for this year and a result of the struggles and challenges of all factors that hold women back from accomplishing their full potential.
In the era of the ‘constant change’ culture and intrinsic innovation, we still struggle with the age-old plight of gender inequality. The World Economic Forum 2021 report showcases a gap of 135.6 years before we reach gender equality at a global level. Consequently, the pandemic has only regressed the gender equality gap and it has become more important now than ever to take action and make amends in navigating male-centric leadership, recognizing gender pay gap, representing women in STEM, acknowledging unconscious bias, and breaking the indefinite bias today. The gender gaps evident within the AI talent pool reflect both the broader gender gaps within specializations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies; gender gaps across industries; and gender gaps in the acquisition of emerging skills. Women make up a quarter or fewer of workers in computing and engineering centric industries. Only 22% of AI professionals globally are female, compared to 78% who are male. This accounts for a gender gap of 72% yet to close. It’s a longstanding mission not just for women, but an inclusive call to action by all
Let’s combat this bias together. Here is how:
Level out the talent pool and leadership
Women remain seriously underrepresented in leadership positions in the political, social, corporate, scientific, and technological spectrum. According to a research study in 2022 there is a direct correlation between having women CEOs and gender diversity of their boards. Most often women’s discounted credit leads to less women taking administrative and skilled positions because of the lack of a visible role model.
Educate yourself on the Gender pay gap
In an uncontrolled gender pay gap that measures median salary for all men and all women regardless of job type, seniority, location, industry, years of experience, etc. shows that women earn 82 cents for every dollar a man earns where highly educated women earn less than a highly educated man. A large portion of this disparity exists as women are considered default caregivers at home which also led to the biggest resignation curve in history during the pandemic. This has led to an increase in the dysfunctional working environment, perks, working models, policies, culture and incentives in the workplace that affect women. In retrospect, this further casts another shadow to the futile progress that was already made.
Increase transparency and battle induced unconscious bias
Top-down policies are just half battle won, we need transparency in data and the insight of breaking hidden biases in data that drive large-scale decisions. Only 50% of organizations globally are publicly documenting commitments to gender equality, which is flat since 2016. We need access to more data and documentation to unravel the brutal truth and be the change.
Empathize each day
Within the last 5 years, according to google trends, online searches for gender pay gap keywords have substantially decreased. It emerges only through creating psychological noise during annual spikes around IWD, and the dialogue ends with the trend. We do not see a constant. There is an urgency for change and this world issue is trending down. Seek your voice to be heard, your words and actions matter. We can combat this bias by calling out when you see a marginalization, this responsibility applies to women sharing their stories, owning their voice but it also applies to the non-marginalized groups as per race, ethnicity, and gender who can be the louder voice that can take this step to create a greater widespread impact.
Be involved, take action and be the support
This campaign is a reminder of what is at stake and how we can still make a difference. You are not alone, there are organizations, communities, campaigns, surveys, donations that you can support to spread the message and awareness.
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.
Happy International Women's Day!