There is something very gratifying for me when I see women succeeding, thriving and coming together to uplift each other and create change. It has been important for me to witness women around me do well in their lives because it sets an expectation that success and excellence are within my reach; that it is possible to achieve great things; that it is okay to take center stage. The general definition of Feminism is the belief in full social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. Here are a few ways we can support and encourage women:
1. Celebrate women’s achievements
When you let someone know what a good job they are doing, it not only boosts their confidence but also increases their productivity. We can collectively celebrate women’s achievements by paying them genuine compliments when they do well, and by rewarding them when they do well in a certain area(s). At home, we need to remind the women in our lives that they are amazing and encourage them. At work, we need to offer women we work with support and congratulate their professional achievements.
2. Increase women’s visibility
Employers, managers and persons in positions of influence have the power and ability to increase the visibility of women tremendously. This is by recommending qualified women for opportunities and encouraging them to pursue them. One can also groom/mentor junior women who present potential and work with them to develop experience and skills necessary for filling more visible roles. Also assign leadership roles to women and give them roles that are critical.
3. Call out inequality
It is very important to call out any act that is done against an individual on the basis of their gender. Examples of these actions include harassment, sexist remarks, demeaning actions etc. You can do this by speaking out about your own experiences. Make sure you speak out when you or another person is discriminated against. Alert you’re an authority figure for example a teacher, a parents, an employer depending on the situation. Keeping quiet perpetuates the unfair treatments of women and normalizes the toxic culture/behavior. The only circumstance where keeping quiet is acceptable is when speaking up carries safety risks. In that case, your wellbeing and that of the next individual comes first.
4. Raise awareness against bias
Unconscious gender bias is defined as unintentional and automatic mental associations based on gender, stemming from norms, traditions, values, culture and/or experience. When we automatically assess and associate people with gender stereotypes, our decision making is very likely to be flawed. Gender biases can hinder women from reaching their full potential hence the need to raise awareness on the same. At the workplace, employers and hiring managers can apply transparency and accountability in the hiring and performance evaluation process to mitigate gender bias. As an individual, you can research more on the types of biases to become more aware of them and to be able to identify them and raise awareness on them.
5. Take action for equality
We all must feel called to action and take up the responsibility to facilitate equality in all spaces. Of we stand strong and raise each other up, men and women alike, and see ourselves and each other as worthy individuals, nothing can tear us down. The fight for equality is ours, all of us.
Wherever you are, whomever you may be, I want you to feel called to fight this fight and stand up for what is right because Women’s rights are Human rights.
I wish you a Happy International Women’s Day.
By Wanjiru Muhoro | Writer