Today (Tuesday 8 March) is International Women’s Day (IWD). It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.
IWD has occurred for more than a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by more than a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not a country, group, or organisation specific.
Break the Bias
Each year there is a different theme this year is #BreakTheBias
- 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
Whether deliberate or unconscious, the bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.
Many of our colleagues are female and may have experienced bias for several reasons. We’ve heard from some of them about their experiences.
Hearing from our colleagues
Javeria Ali is a Business Change Specialist. She says: “I have always been passionate about being in a role where the work improves people's lives. Being involved in transformation across the council which leads to improvement in services for residents is really rewarding. No two days are ever the same when you're a Business Change Specialist and I enjoy the variety and challenge that comes with that”.
Roles at the council are varied. Cherish Matic is a Family Worker who started a degree in 2019. She studies part-time alongside her full-time role of being a mum to 4-year-old twin daughters. She says, “Finding the right balance between home, work and study has been tricky at times. My aim once I (hopefully!) graduate will be to apply for the Social Work programme.”
She continues, “A Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) degree is without doubt heavily male-dominated, amongst my peers in my tutor group, the majority are men, and this is my first year of three that I have a female lecturer.”
Jo Lovell BSc (Hons) MRICS is an Operational Property Project Manager. She says: “My role can be seen as a ‘mans’ job. My view is we all have strengths and weaknesses that cut across gender. We all have different experiences and skillsets which means we’re faced with challenges and obstacles, they are not the preserve of females alone, so I refuse to accept that what I am faced with is due to my being a woman. If I think I’m being unfairly treated, it’s their issue of gender rather than my gender per se.”
Jennifer Danaher is an Apprentice Civil Engineer working for the In-House Design team on Capital Projects. She says: “Our team focuses on producing drawings, specifications, tender documents, and deliverables. I produce documents for several different projects, with the supervision and assistance of fully qualified engineers”.
There are several female engineers at the council. Verena Fernandes is a Civil Engineer, she says: “my role is varied and covers the design and delivery of highways schemes including cycleways, drainage design and modelling. I work with a variety of people internally but also consultants and contractors that are engaged in the projects.”
She continues, “Engineering is traditionally seen as a male’s career, so I always felt that somehow, I had to prove over and over that, I was good enough, that there were multiple reasons for me to be there, and that I wanted my career enough.”
Imalka Slaughter is an Administrator in the Integrated Early Help Service. She says: “I started my role in 2008 as an administrator for the Children’s Centres and I have a range of responsibilities. Like many, I also juggle the home life, I’m a proud mum of a disabled son who is autistic”.
“There have been times, I’ve worried is it possible to have a career and be a carer for my son? Would I be treated unfavourably as having young children irrespective of disability or not we have good days and bad days? But I can.”
“I wouldn’t be able to do this job without all the support I receive from my business support team managers, team leaders and equally incredibly hardworking Children Centres team manager and the team here.”
Shazada Ahmed is a Customer Delivery Lead. She says: “Strong, impactful, women lead and guide me here, which has inspired me to start a management apprenticeship. To anyone starting a new role, my advice would be, to be confident with the skills and knowledge you have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or say that you don’t know something. It’s important to make space to grow and learn. Always remember it’s never too late to keep educating yourself to pursue your dreams.”
Would you like to take part?
We're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can break the bias in our communities, workplaces, and education settings. Together, we can all break the bias not just for today but beyond.
Are you in? Will you actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it? Will you help break the bias?
Cross your arms to show solidarity.
Strike the IWD 2022 pose and share your #BreakTheBias pose social media using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage others to help forge an inclusive world.
There are also resources, articles, stories and much more on the International Women’s Day website.
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