International Women’s Day: Breaking the Bias

10th March 2022

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on the 8th of March to recognise the progress made in achieving gender equality. This day serves as a catalyst for woman empowerment and reflects upon women’s past achievements to strive towards a more gender-equitable world. ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’ was the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day.

Women are encouraged to work towards an inclusive world, free from bias. This requires levelling the playing field for all moving forward and recently publicised with the #BreakTheBias campaign. #BreakTheBias is an international campaign to promote awareness about gender bias and encourage action favouring equality. The aim is to elevate the visibility of women in previously male-dominated careers, build workplaces where they can thrive and strengthen their voices in healthcare decisions.

The lives of women worldwide are affected in many ways by social norms. The ability for women to make their own choices and determine their outcomes have been hindered by these norms. Despite the detrimental effects of social norm violations, these practices continue regardless of collective pushback. This year’s International Women’s Day is more meaningful and essential than ever in light of what is happening globally. The eradication of gender bias makes society a safer and healthier place. Acknowledging and addressing bias has a significant impact on furthering equality and promoting diversity within companies, and it’s the right thing to do. Incorporating these values is imperative in creating more sustainable and successful businesses. 

It is essential to have an open mind when addressing societal issues, especially when there is a gender bias present. This form of discrimination has been deeply entrenched within our society and has resulted in inequality. We shouldn’t, however, form judgments on binary gender thinking. We need to change this mindset of focusing on the differences and similarities between people based solely on their gender. It is necessary to eradicate this way of thinking by deconstructing preconceived notions related to gender-based stereotypes. This is essential in creating a safe environment where people are treated equally regardless of their identity.

Only by acknowledging our prejudices and diversity in the workforce can normative goals be achieved. Women have made significant strides toward equal pay and opportunity, which has had positive socio-economic effects. Despite the challenges, it is evident that progress is being made globally for women’s empowerment.