Happy International Women's Day! Here Are 4 Ways You Can #EmbraceEquity!
Updated: Apr 16
"Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women." - Maya Angelou
This year's International Women's Day campaign theme is #EmbraceEquity (read this for difference between equity and equality). It emphases that we can all do our part to challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion.
Inspired by this year's theme, I wanted to reflect on some of my own experiences as a woman and share some of the ways we can all contribute to creating a more equitable world.
I'm very grateful to have supportive parents who have never treated me any less because of my gender. They never held me back in my career aspirations and have always been supportive of what I wanted to study and pursue for my career, no matter if it was going 5000 miles to study Psychology in the U.S. or pursuing a PhD.
Growing up, my mother emphasized over and over again the importance of being independent as a woman. She stressed the importance of working, being financially independent and strongly advises against being "a stay-at-home mom" like she did.
I'm also incredibly lucky to have found a partner who is a strong ally of women. He is not only fully supportive of my career but also believes I have the right to pursue whatever I want in my life.
However, there are still (of course!), others in my life (just like many people) who have gender biases. For example, upon hearing that got into a PhD program, a relative of mine showed lack of understanding why I was trying to be a PhD as a woman. I also had another acquaintance who asked "Why are you getting a PhD? Why don't you just enjoy life?". In fact, in China, there is a common saying that there are three genders: male, female, and female PhD...
Indeed, according to the 2022 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, it will take another 132 years to reach full gender parity given our current progress.
Yes, there is still a lot of work to do.
But yes, we can all do something to accelerate this!
Here are some ideas:
1. Avoid Self-Discriminating and Self-Limiting!
We all know that we should not make selection, promotion and pay decisions based on gender. It's equally important to remind ourselves not make important life decisions based on our own gender!
Catch yourself whenever you think about your gender when making a decision. PAUSE. Then think about what would YOU do as who you are as a person?
These powerful messages from Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In, have been ingrained in me and I think every woman needs to hear these:
Don't lower your expectations of what you can achieve because you are a woman!
Don't settle for a job that will give you space to have family before you have one!
If you want to have kids, it's even more important to make sure you have a career you love, so that you will be motivated to go back to work!
2. Be an Ally!
Be the leader who creates space and invites the female team member who has not yet spoken up in the meeting to voice her opinion.
Be the friend who points out their friends' self-limiting beliefs and tell them they are wrong.
Be the parent who encourages their kids to pursue whatever they want regardless of their gender.
Be the person who calls out someone for making a sexist comment.
3. Choose A Supportive Environment!
Choose a partner who respects you for who you are as a person and is supportive of all of your decisions.
Choose to work for a company and a manager who embraces diversity, equity and inclusion.
Surround yourself with friends who root for you and believe you can do anything you want!
Remember to never settle.
4. Share YOUR Tips on How To Embrace Equity!
We tend to underestimate how much of an impact we have on others. The truth is EVERY ONE of us can do our part to support and embrace equity within our own sphere of influence!
I hope this article will spark more conversations about this important topic, and even inspire you to share your own experiences and thoughts!
Fun fact: This article was also inspired by other articles written by women on International Women's Day!
So how will YOU embrace equity?
Together, we can create a more equitable and inclusive world!
Check out: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/theme
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