International Women’s Day 2022: Breaking The Bias
This International Women’s Day, we celebrated all of the social, political, and innovative changes that womanhood has brought about in society — as well as acknowledging the need for continued progress. Find out more about how we brought equality to the forefront of our minds this week and learn how we’ll strive towards building it into our culture with insights from the Reeds’ team.
Team members from the Creative Hub were privileged to represent the company at an International Women’s Day event led by the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, held at The North Lakes Hotel in Penrith. Women in attendance represented everything from small businesses to large corporations, covering everything from professional services to wellness.
Workshops throughout the day addressed topics including opening conversations on the menopause at work, embracing vulnerability and female innovation. Every session was thought provoking and provided all in attendance with some fresh takeaways on equality, self-worth and the achievements of womanhood throughout history.
We’re dipping into some more detail on two of our favourite workshops from the day, led respectively by Laura Cadman and Sarah Allison.
Laura Cadman is a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner, tackling limiting beliefs to boost confidence with practical thought coaching.
Laura’s session removed the ‘comfort zone’ concept as attendees delved into visualisation and self-awareness. Guided by Laura throughout, each group was asked to envisage their past and future selves, met by our intermediate ‘present’ self, thanking our efforts to date and acknowledging all that is ahead. Laura also addressed one of the most prominent issues facing women in professional settings to date: imposter syndrome.
Sharing her analogy of acknowledging doubt and worry as not harmful but as notions that come in as part of a fight of flight response, or even as a driving force, she led the group towards the idea of accepting vulnerability — turning it into an enabler for change, success, and personal progress.
Sarah Allison is a Project Manager at University of Cumbria, where she is also driving the Cumbria Innovations Platform.
Sarah took innovation beyond its common terms as a buzzword, conceptualising it into four key types and the characteristics of each: Incremental, disruptive, architectural and radical. On breaking the barriers between having innovative ideas and actioning them, she shared a thought process taking an initial thought spark all the way through to market, underpinning it with the fact that there’s no failure to be had from simply sharing potential.
The session also prompted attendees to test their own knowledge of women’s innovation, with a quiz round which included the faces and achievements of the likes of Josephine Cochrane, Mary Anderson, Dr Shirley Jackson and Grace Hopper.
The day offered up plenty of networking opportunities for women to share their stories, experiences and insights, with the chamber asking everyone on the day to share their top piece of advice that they’d give to their sixteen-year-old selves.
This week, we asked our team what their take was on the term #BreakTheBias in the workplace, and how we’d take steps to action challenging the notion on a daily basis. Here are our top takeaways:
What do we understand from #BreakTheBias?
“The gender bias is an unfair situation dependant on a person's gender — affecting women in the way it does due to entrenched perspectives and inequality. A woman may experience gender bias due to missed pay increase or promotions for being on maternity leave or due to having to take extra days off to care for poorly children, just to give one example. This scenarios often go unchallenged, becoming the norm and leaving women at a disadvantage.”
And what does the bias mean for men…
Men could also experience gender bias for example, with mental health, there has previously been a lot of stigma regarding men and how they should 'toughen up' or keep their feelings to themselves as has historically been the case.
How can we tackle bias in the workplace?
Women are most affected by childcare, and this often means dropping down to part-time hours or home working, which in turn leads to them being given less opportunities. When implemented well, a flexible working policy will enable women to re-enter the workforce, while also contributing towards lessening the gender pay gap.
Diversify the workforce
Companies must encourage and champion a diverse workplace, growing awareness amongst its staff to initiate an understanding of the variety between cultures, races, genders.
Celebrate women’s successes in the workplace
While we’ve seen many high profile companies appointing more women CEO's, as a society we must celebrate and facilitate it across the board.