International Women’s Day: Challenge inequality and gender bias

To mark today's celebration of a focal point in the movement for women's rights, Kayleigh Graham explains this year's theme: choose to challenge, and how we can each influence change in your lives and place of work.

8th Mar 2021
Partnerships manager Capitalise.com
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International Women's Day card with Five strong girls of different cultures and ethnicities stand together. Vector concept of gender equality and of the female empowerment movement.
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In 1919, the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act saw all professional accountancy bodies forced to admit women.

Now, over 100 years on, there are thousands of women in the industry. Figures published annually by the Financial Reporting Council showed that, on average, over the top seven UK accountancy bodies, 36% of members were female and over 49% of their student bodies were female.

International Women's Day (IWD) has been celebrated across the globe since the early 1900s and since then the world has witnessed a significant change in society's view of women's equality.

With more women in accountancy, the boardroom, greater equality in rights and women's visibility in every aspect of life, you could think that women have gained a sense of true equality. 

However, the fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in other areas of business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

The theme of this year's IWD is #choosetochallenge and it’s calling on each of us to think about what we can do to influence just one change in our lives and organisations. 

Did you know that men are 3x more likely to interrupt or talk over a woman than they are another man?

If you are in a meeting and bear witness to that, choosing to challenge could look like saying “I’d like to hear the rest of X’s thoughts before we move on” or “X raised a great point, can we just come back to that for a moment?”

If you’re leading a meeting it might look like going around the room giving everyone an opportunity to contribute equally or making the effort to invite a female colleague to speak up if they haven’t already. 

This isn’t about being abrasive, rude or condescending. It’s about pushing yourself slightly to become more aware of some of the issues women face and then challenging those and you can do that in whatever way feels comfortable for you.

That was just one example of how to challenge but the IWD website suggests there are a number of strategies you can use to respond to bias such as:

  • Explaining the bias you can see
  • Sticking to the facts 
  • Advocating for policy/process change 
  • Speak up for someone in the moment 
  • Ask a probing question 

A challenged world is an alert world and individually we must all take accountability for our actions.

We can all choose to call out gender bias and inequality,  to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. 

From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.

Replies (16)

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ghm
By TaxTeddy
08th Mar 2021 13:54

Just a reminder that September 9 is international Teddy Bears' Day. Put it in your diary now.

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Replying to TaxTeddy:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
08th Mar 2021 15:43

August 13th for International Wolf Day ;)

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By Trethi Teg
08th Mar 2021 17:41

When do Penguins get their day in the sun?

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By AndyC555
09th Mar 2021 13:17

"the violence against them is worse than that of men."

Really? Over two-thirds of murder victims are male and ONS statistics show that men are more likely to be victims of violent crimes (just over 61% of victims).

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Replying to AndyC555:
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By Paul Crowley
18th Mar 2021 13:45

I was watching a youtube reaction video last night
Kel & J TV
Kel is a joy to watch reaction to comedy clips

She eloquently made the point that women can hit men because there is no consequence.
She said
'On the street woman hitting man is ignored or laughed at
Man hitting woman ALWAYS has outsider intervention, reaction and disapproval'

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
By Duggimon
10th Mar 2021 09:46

Paul Crowley wrote:

On the street woman hitting man is ignored or laughed at
Man hitting woman ALWAYS has outsider intervention, reaction and disapproval

At the risk of being another man rubbishing a woman's point of view, I think that's rubbish and in my experience neither is true.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Paul Crowley
18th Mar 2021 13:44

Her comments not mine
She is a Black American lady ( as in USA )

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Replying to AndyC555:
By coops456
10th Mar 2021 11:00

The author is talking about violence globally, not just crimes recorded in the UK - which I hope we can all recognise are under-reported anyway. The perceived or actual threat of male violence restricts women's everyday lives in ways that most men never have to think about.

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14th May 2021 13:38

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By Aaron30302
14th May 2021 13:38

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By SoniaLabadie
14th May 2021 13:51

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