“Gender is a pre-written book.” - Anisa Nandaula
We’re soon approaching 8 March, which means International Women’s Day (IWD) is just around the corner. The name may sound self-explanatory, but according to IWD website, the aim of this celebration is to accelerate gender parity (“the state of equality among genders, especially in regards to status or pay”, according to Oxford Dictionary). This means celebrating women’s achievements and raising awareness about women’s equality, to name some of the things that can be done to celebrate IWD.
While it’s primarily targeted for women, those identifying with other genders can also do something to celebrate #IWD2021 and support their women champions in challenging biases in gender norms. There are movements like #IamRemarkable which aims to tackle these issues through improving women’s motivation on self-promotion and challenging the social perception of doing that. Here are some of the top tips from the increasingly global movement to do just that:
Tip #1: ‘Accomplishments don’t speak for themselves’.
As a third person, it may be easier for them to point out someone else’ achievements. When done in the right time and situation, encouraging your woman champion to speak out about their accomplishments can be a simple-yet-powerful move.
Accomplishments vary depending on the individual. For someone, this could be that she’s the first (insert nationality) woman to be appointed in a senior management role in a multinational company in the UK. Another just survived a cochlear implant operation after a lifetime struggle with hearing condition, while still managing to do office work in a foreign country.
No accomplishments are too small to be said. Without an advocate, these accomplishments won’t speak for themselves, thus depriving others who may get inspired from these women.
Tip #2: ‘It’s not bragging if it’s based on facts’.
There are myriads of negative connotations attached to bragging about oneself. Certain cultures look down on bragging as something taboo in general. Add ‘women’ to the context and you’ll get discomfort looks from both men and women.
But what if the things being said are facts? In workplaces, it’s acceptable to present an idea or findings especially when backed with data. So how is it any different when someone presents something about herself when it’s based on factual events?
To support your women champions, encourage them to talk about what they’ve done and equip them with the knowledge that ‘it’s not bragging if it’s based on facts’. Women in workplaces may find it harder to talk about their achievements due to the negative stereotype attached. But if nobody is talking about one’s achievement, who will? See Tip #1.
Movements on gender parity focusing on women are increasing now than ever. But that doesn’t mean women should be left on their own devices. It’ll take everyone’s effort to challenge something so deeply rooted in society, like challenging biases on gender roles. This is why being an ally is such a powerful role. After all, #ChooseToChallenge is the theme of this year’s IWD’s theme.
Maharani Hariga is a certified facilitator for #IamRemarkable movement.