Today, March 8, 2020 observes International Women’s Day, and this year we are calling attention to gender inequality with the theme Each for Equal.
Gender inequality shows up in our society in various ways, and when exploring the topic of gender inequality, the more obvious hurdles women face include wage gaps, male dominated professions, including leadership positions in corporations, medicine, science, government, as well as sports.
Each for Equal means that participation is required of each of us in pursuing the goal of gender equality. Even though it may seem as if our challenges are too great for one person to make a difference, there are many small steps each of us can take to combat gender inequality that we regularly encounter in our lives.
Our First Female President (Stay Tuned…)
This November, the US will elect its leader for the next four years. We’ve had a total of 45 presidents in our nation’s history; all have been male. In 2016, we were the closest we’ve ever been to electing our first woman president with Hilary Clinton, former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. And unfortunately this year, we also fell short, as Senator Elizabeth Warren did not get the nomination for the Democratic party.
With the accomplishments of just these two women alone, there should be no question as to whether a woman is capable of leading our nation; however, gender biases and stereotypes call into question the ability of these very strong, smart, and capable women, to hold down the job of the most powerful leader in the free world.
There’s infinite concern expressed over a woman’s temperament, whether or not she will be too emotional to lead the country, too compassionate, too hormonal; will men under her command respect her? Is she likable? Is she strong enough?
These are instances where we can each do our part in calling out these unjust biases and stereotypes in an effort to eliminate them.
Challenging Gender Biases and Stereotypes
While none of us are currently making a run for the Office of the President, we can see how big of a deal it’s been for women candidates vying for the highest position in the land. These biases don’t just affect women seeking these prominent positions of power; they affect all women. Regardless of how much we accomplish, our capabilities regularly get called into question due to unchecked and unchallenged gender biases. We have to take whatever steps we can within our own power to move the needle toward equality.
Keep the following in mind and consider how you can challenge these gender biases:
Competence and strength is not exclusive to one gender
Our male leaders have made poor decisions
Men have emotions (and emotional outbursts)
Women are just as educated
Women are capable of, and excellent at leading
What gender biases do you encounter in your daily life? What steps can you take to challenge them?