This International Women’s Day, we celebrate women’s collective and individual achievements, raise awareness against bias and take necessary action toward equality. This year’s theme, #BreakTheBias, aims to promote accountability and action towards gender bias and discrimination within our workplaces, schools and communities. We are all responsible for our individual thought processes, actions, and communication throughout each day. The #BreakTheBias initiative calls on each of us to actively speak out against unjust discrimination and bias each time we experience or observe it.
Gender bias refers to the tendency for individuals to favour one gender over the other, whether deliberately or unconsciously. These biases are not always obvious or visible, especially in a professional setting. Performance evaluations, pay increases, leadership opportunities, and recruitment can all be affected by a subconscious bias, which is why the responsibility falls to each of us as individuals to break the cycle and create a brighter future for all. A staggering 42% of women experience gender discrimination in the workplace. Five out of the fourteen top barriers women face in professional settings are directly related to gender bias or discrimination. In addition, both men and women are twice as likely to hire a male candidate over a female.
Although action for equality, diversity and inclusion has received more international support than ever in recent years, there is still plenty of work that must be done and breaking gender bias is just the beginning. International Women’s Day is an opportunity for all of us to reflect and discuss how we can make a difference and support women’s equality with thoughtful and tangible actions.
As part of our commitment to breaking the barriers that prevent women from pursuing professional and personal achievements, our entire team participated in an activity and presentation hosted by Yi Liu. Yi is working with our organization as part of the University of Alberta Adaptation Resilience Training (ART) Program. The presentation focused on the Role of Gender Diversity in STEM for Holistically Tackling Climate Change Response.
At Williams Engineering, we support equality, inclusion and diversity by developing women in the workplace and supporting them as they develop in their careers. We’re dedicated to removing barriers and breaking biases women face in our communities and globally while empowering them with opportunities to grow and succeed.