Happy International Women’s Day to all the brilliant women that are reading this! Today we celebrate and commemorate our achievements as women, and we couldn’t be prouder of you!
Let’s discuss the theme of this year’s IWD: #BreakTheBias. First off, what IS gender bias?
The definition is to “have an inclination towards or prejudice against one gender” (simply put – to treat one gender unfairly). As women, it’s likely that we’ve all experienced this at least once in our lives, and International Women’s Day can be a great time to discuss and share stories of women breaking the bias.
Gender bias (noun)
Favoritism towards or prejudice against one gender.
Oxford English Dictionary
This year, we wanted to focus on gender stereotypes and biases women may face during motherhood. At Mum & You, we want to share and reveal encounters with bias that women may face during pregnancy or throughout motherhood. We reached out to our community asking for any stories or experiences that fall into this theme, and we received some fantastic, insightful responses, all of which can be found here. We wanted to give our community a platform to share their stories in a bid to unite us as women and shed light upon what we have faced during our time as mothers.
Gender bias has been pervasive throughout history. With more and more members of our communities, workplaces, and establishments challenging gender stereotypes, we can begin to see a shift in mentality amongst society, though there is still a long way to go.
The International Women’s Day website shares the following quote:
“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”
International Women’s Day Website
As we choose to explore the theme of gender bias in the capacity of pregnancy and motherhood, we came across many conversations about ingrained gender stereotypes in children. Children are also often affected by gender bias, through representation in books, TV and films, toys, hobbies and colours they ‘should’ like, clothes they can wear, language used (pretty girls and strong boys) which can impact who they become and roles and jobs they may aspire too. With many toys still being heavily advertised specifically for boys and girls, Danish toy company Lego made the decision to remove gender bias from its toys after a global poll of children and parents highlighted ingrained societal gender bias.
As mums, it’s hard to find the right language to explain such topics to our children. One of our anonymous mum submissions shared her experience of ingrained gender bias with us too, read her story here.
As parents, how can we teach our children about perceived gender stereotypes?
Charity Save The Children shares five tips to encourage and equip parents and carers to have these conversations with children.
- Reflect on what you know and if you are reinforcing gender roles. Start by acknowledging that your own biases and lived experiences may influence how you talk to your children about such topics.
- Listen and encourage your child. What are the questions your child is asking? Do they feel that boys and girls or non-binary children are different in any way? Try to teach your child that all children (no matter their gender) are equal and their gender shouldn’t determine what they can achieve.
- Incorporate media and social media that doesn’t reinforce gender stereotypes. It is important to understand that what is displayed online or on TV can shape children’s views. Help diversify your child’s understanding of gender by finding TV shows, movies and role models that show kids the opposite of traditional gender norms.
- Correct misinformation. Correct misperceptions and misinformation about the perceived differences between boys, girls, and children who identify as non-binary. Help your child better understand that all children should have equal opportunities and rights, and we should treat everyone with respect and kindness.
- Be a good role model. Start having conversations with children about gender empowerment early and often. When you see gender discrimination, call it out and explain to your child why. The absence of positive expression or images matter as well, so model thoughtful, inclusive behaviour.
International organisation The British Council shares English language teacher Elsa O’Brien’s advice for challenging gender stereotypes in the classrooms and how teachers can evaluate their communication style and model inclusive language. This is a great resource for parents too and offers tips and resources on challenging gender bias which can also be interchanged with homelife, especially if you are parents to both girls and boys.
If you have been searching for positive ways to encourage your young children to be more comfortable in their own skin, we have also published resourceful blogs to commemorate International Women’s Day for our little ones, such as children’s books with strong female characters and inspirational nursery wall art prints.
If you have anything you would like to share with us, thoughts, opinions, or experiences, please do get in touch or leave a comment below – we love to hear from you!
PSST! As part of our celebration of Mum & More month, our up to 75% off sale is still live! Pick up your baby favourites or treat yourselves to our luxurious Mums Range – because you absolutely deserve a treat too!
View more Mum & More Month content here and keep an eye out for new content going live every day!
Want to keep up to date with our future blogs like this one? Subscribe to our mailing list for more tips and special offers you surely won’t want to miss!