Celebrating International Women’s Day 2022 and #BreakTheBias
Vistatec is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 this March 8th, joining the global campaign for gender equality.
IWD has a fascinating history, going back further than many people realize. Back in 1910, when women worldwide were striving for emancipation, a German campaigner called Clara Zetkin tabled the idea of a special day to focus on women’s rights at the International Conference of Working Women.
Since its first inception, IWD has become an annual event, campaigning for a world that is equal, safe, and rewarding for women and girls. Over the decades, significant progress has been made, but global gender inequality remains a huge problem. Women still experience gender pay gaps, they are not equally represented in business or politics, violence against women and girls is a widespread problem, and women’s overall levels of education and health remain worse than men’s.
However, while acknowledging the work still to be done, IWD is also a time to celebrate progress. We now have female tech founders, pioneering scientists, leading politicians, elite women’s sporting events, and greater representation at the highest levels of education and business. In many countries across the world, women can now work and have a family, no longer sacrificing their careers or education to be carers – they have a choice.
Inspirational women who made waves in 2021-2022
Visible women in positions of power and influence are a key driving force in the fight for gender equality. These incredible role models are helping young women and girls picture themselves in their shoes, normalizing women in authority and raising expectations.
Celebrated women who are leading the way in 2022:
- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organization as Director-General.
- Gita Gopinath is the first woman to serve as Chief Economist at the IMF (International Monetary Fund).
- Simone Biles has not only pushed the boundaries of gymnastics, women’s achievement, and racial equality in sports but has pioneered mental health support for athletes and stood up against sexual abuse with her fellow sportswomen.
- Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley is a powerful and respected voice on climate action and was made 2021 Champion of the Earth for Policy Leadership by the UN Environment Programme.
- Tsai Ing-wen, academic and first female President of Taiwan plays a crucial role in keeping peace in East Asia, demonstrating calm and authoritative leadership in the face of immense geopolitical challenges.
How Vistatec supports International Women’s Day
In 2022, International Women’s Day will bring together a global web of rich and diverse activities, from political rallies and business events to local markets, art performances, and more. Vistatec actively supports IWD across the world, and we’ve been proud to sponsor Women in Localization for many years, helping the advancement of women in our industry.
Last year, we hosted a special podcast with an all-female panel of Vistatec localization and translation professionals. The team explored #ChooseToChallenge, the 2021 IWD theme that encouraged people to call out incidents of bias and inequality. Key issues were raised during the discussion – how social conditioning prevents women from asserting themselves, how gender bias is inherent in language, and how unconscious bias is affecting new technology such as AI development. Follow the link above to listen again.
The 2022 IWD theme of #BreakTheBias
The 2022 theme of #BreakTheBias brings the issue of conscious and unconscious gender bias to the fore. Despite decades of progress, women have been disproportionately affected by the fallout from the global pandemic. More women than men were employed in sectors hardest hit by COVID-19, women’s job losses outpaced men’s, and the burden of women’s unpaid care work was cast in sharp relief.
Many women have been forced to leave the workforce over the last two years, significantly setting back the equality movement. A report by PWC into the 38 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that having reverted to 2017 levels, progress towards gender equality now needs to happen at twice its historical rate to redress the balance.
How you can help #BreakTheBias
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we encourage everyone at Vistatec and all our partners to challenge gender norms and support progressive policy initiatives – because change begins with education and increased awareness.
Whether deliberate or unconscious, gender bias makes it difficult for women to progress. By learning to recognize bias, we can bring about change for the better.
Here’s how to identify different types of bias (you can find the IWD educational resources on bias here):
- Likability bias comes from age-old expectations of women. Society expects men to be assertive, so when they lead, it feels natural. On the other hand, society expects women to be kind and selfless, so when they assert themselves, it can feel jarring, meaning they are less liked.
- Attribution bias means seeing women as less competent than men, giving less credit for their achievements, and coming down harder on errors.
- Performance bias comes from deep-rooted assumptions about what women can do. We tend to underestimate women’s capabilities and overestimate those of men.
- Affinity bias is how we gravitate toward people like ourselves, socially and at work. We may avoid or actively dislike people who differ from us. For example, all-male environments can spark collective negative attitudes towards women.
- Maternal bias is the false assumption that mothers are less committed to their careers and less competent than their male counterparts, even if they are also parents.
- Intersectionality is vital because bias isn’t limited to gender. Women can also experience bias due to race, sexual orientation, social status, or disability.
How you can get involved
By joining the social campaign, running events, and highlighting women’s achievements, you can join the global movement on March 8th to celebrate women and challenge gender inequality. A picture of you and your colleagues doing the #BreakTheBias crossed-hands pose is a great way to demonstrate solidarity and raise awareness.
You can listen to or watch our new podcast episode to celebrate International Women’s Day 2022 here.