In celebration of the International Women's Day 2021 theme of 'Choose to Challenge', which focuses on calling out gender bias and inequality, we spoke to our alumni community and asked for their advice on what #ChoosetoChallenge means to them.
"Gender equality is on the agenda of many organisations nowadays, however, only a few are taking the actual steps to address the issue, from recruitment to promotion and retention of women. More actionable plans for all types of organisations could ensure that equality is not just a “buzzword” for them.
"We can proactively take the steps, however small, to call out bias, even when it comes from people who are close to us, and question the stereotypes that still hold us back."
"Working towards gender equality is important, because inequality and discrimination negatively impact women in several areas of life; education, the workplace, and in gaining access to opportunities they deserve. It’s important to fight for equal treatment and the rights of all women, acknowledging the intersections and nuances of experience that occur.
"I try to challenge gender bias in all that I do. I make it known that I’m a video gamer, I work in technology, and have a Master’s degree - all things that are typically not expected of young women.
"I’ve especially emphasised these traits when I’ve experienced unconscious bias in the workplace. Little actions like this can go a long way in changing stereotypes and expectations."
"I #ChooseToChallenge all women to rise up and not settle for less than they deserve - be it work, relationships or life in general."
"From societal gender role stereotype to patriarchy, it is difficult to explicitly name the biggest challenge in overcoming gender inequality. I believe a way to overcome the challenges we face today is ensuring women are at the core of decision making, diversifying perspectives and reframing longstanding organisational and societal norm.
Whilst progress has been made, it is up to each and everyone of us to take on the challenge, to enact collaborative positive changes toward addressing gender inequality."
"I #ChoosetoChallenge workplaces that have splashy diversity campaigns without tangible plans for how to address gender inequality.
"I #ChoosetoChallenge my own imposter syndrome and recognise that I do deserve a seat at the table.
"I #ChoosetoChallenge myself and others to celebrate the achievements of our women colleagues."
“For me #ChoosetoChallenge means to stand up and question the status quo to fight for what you believe in.”
"For me, #ChooseToChallenge would be about challenging yourself. There are always moments when you are unsure, when you think you might not be good enough for a particular role or that you don't have enough experience for a task / challenge that you've never done before. By choosing to challenge ourselves we get rid of a possibility of "regret that you didn't do it". And in nearly all cases, a new challenge means that you would prepare well and do much better than expected."
"I believe #ChoosetoChallenge means: Ignore norms and other background noise, focus on how you can use your strengths to reach the goals you set."
"Everything we do is consistent with the #ChoosetoChallenge ethos. Our Athena SWAN work consistently identifies and challenges gender bias and inequity."
Karen Tweddle, Director, Education Quality at the Business School and member of the Business School’s Athena SWAN committee, discusses the work of the group and why the School is committed to supporting female students and staff.