Blog: Let’s #BreakTheBias
Something truly powerful about International Woman’s Day’s annual themes is the focus on individual commitment, self-reflection and action. I have the privilege of sharing my voice on this 8 March through this post as well as making sure that other voices across our organisation are heard, illustrating the different sensations, experiences and perceptions that gender biases generate across individuals.
Bias isn’t only about women and neither is gender. The evolution of LGBTQI+ flag(s) over recent years, particularly during the Black Lives Matter movement, is a visual and emotional demonstration of the collective effort to vindicate that whilst individuals will experience discrimination in extremely different ways, outright condemnation and daily challenging of discrimination and bias as such, is something we can, and must, all do together.
It is interesting to consider how different genders, sexual orientations, biological sexes, and multiple other characteristics like ethnicity, race, religion, age or disability, are set up in society. The narratives around us, which materialise in films, images, funding sources, language, and perpetuated by us as individuals, tell us what to expect from different individuals and collectives based on these characteristics, what they are good at, what their personalities are like, who is best fit to lead or follow, and to define what our actions, words, and even voice pitch (!) mean.
Female experiences of bias are intersectional, meaning that race, gender, social background, disability, and multiple other life realities will condition the prejudice faced by different genders. As a white, cisgender woman myself, I am acutely aware that my experiences of both bias in and outside of the workplace differ from others’; and importantly, that I might unconsciously purport bias myself.
In order to #BreakTheBias, I humbly make a call to inclusivity, self-scrutiny, patience and empathy.
Taking a stand and making sure there is room for all discriminated communities and individuals. Today, we put a spotlight on women’s diverse experiences.
Daring to challenge our own views, to read, listen and watch testimonies that might make us feel uncomfortable, confused or even guilty. What biases am I purporting? What socially conditioned assumptions do I make, that I can change?
Patience and empathy
Through efforts of care with the experiences and realities of others, but also, with ourselves. Being inadvertently biased does not mean we are automatically worse; I would dare suggest, however, that a disregard for trying to identify our personal biases does. Identifying one’s own prejudices can be painful; we should be kind to ourselves as we work through introspection.
The energy sector is historically gender-skewed, and as such substantial gender bias prevails. As organisations, we have an ability and a duty to give these topics and voices a platform, and from EMEC we champion the opportunity to do so. Read some of our voices, experiences and views below.
Do you have any tips on how to enhance workplace diversity and inclusion? Please feel free to get in touch!
The shock of events in Ukraine shows the dangers of intolerance of ‘others’ and the effects of the perpetuation of old animosities and prejudices. As a bystander I believe the tools we have as individuals include raising our voices in support of peace, collaboration and understanding, and finding ways to stand up for principles larger than ourselves. I hope that between all of us, we can contribute to bringing this and other conflicts to a just end.
Lara Santos Ayllon
PhD Researcher on social justice, energy and innovation