WeAreBreakingTheBias

Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8, with the first day being held in 1911.

Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.

This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias – which looks actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it.

Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can break the bias in our communities. We can break the bias in our workplaces. We can break the bias in our schools, colleges and universities. Together, we can all break the bias – on International Women’s Day (IWD) and beyond.

Throughout March, we will be sharing the thoughts of over 100 leaders who are calling for societal change for women. We hope you will join us so we can amplify why we should all #BreakTheBias for gender equity.

Please share our quotes, and contribute by adding your own to your socials and tagging us in @watc_updates or @watc_wearetechwomen; Insta: Watc_HQ and by using the hashtag, #WeAreBreakingTheBias.

“Recognise that we must change how we do things. Running processes the same way repeatedly and expecting different results is not going to work. We must challenge ourselves and those around us, to #BreakTheBias and create a world that empowers women of all backgrounds.”

Sheree Atcheson
Group VP of Diversity & Inclusion at Valtech
Sheree Atcheson

“My want is simple; treat me and everyone else the way you expect to be treated yourself. We could all achieve so much more with this simple lesson we were taught as children and sadly left behind when some learned what bias could offer individually.”

Theresa Palmer
Head of Diversity & Inclusion, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

“We MUST prioritise women & girls in city planning – we have a right to feel safe in public. We need solutions that rise above individual behaviour, and tackle men’s abuse & intimidation of women as a systemic problem. This is an urgent frontier for women’s rights and breaking the bias.”

Lucy Chamberlain
Founder, C&C Search
Lucy Chamberlain

“3 months paternity leave paid at 90% of salary and for the government to create an affordable, high quality childcare system that is accessible to every child.”

Joeli Brearley
Founder, Pregnant Then Screwed
Joeli Brearley

“Let’s break the bias and accelerate the progress of gender diversity by actively including women across all of their diversity – all of us, not some of us!”

Pamela Hutchinson
Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Bloomberg

“Violence against women and girls is an epidemic which affects us all and the way to #BreaktheBias is by education from year 6 to create systemic change.”

Dr Diahanne Rhiney
Founder, The Baton Awards & Be & Beyond, A Female Intersectional Safe Space
Dr Diahanne Rhiney

The most important thing is to not assume the job is done and not assume that it’s someone else’s responsibility. We need to #BreaktheBias in our own spheres of influence and at the same time add our voices in the support of others to create a groundswell, flushing discrimination wherever it lurks.

Helen Pankhurst CBEWriter, Women's Rights Activist & International Development Advisor for CARE International

“(One of!) the most important societal changes that government could make in order to #BreaktheBias for women, is the provision of truly affordable, and better, childcare.”

Helen Wilson
Global Chief Experience Officer, Ipsos MORI
Helen Wilson
“Legally binding quotas for women in executive positions in firms-not just ‘targets’ and legislation to ensure that firms take remedial action to tackle gender and diversity pay differentials , not just report on them with no follow up.”
Vicky Pryce
Chief Economic Adviser & Board Member, CEBR
Vicky Pryce

“Because the pace of change is too slow, force behaviour change by attaching diversity, equity, and inclusion to the performance objectives of leaders of all levels in organisations.”

Carol Stewart
Founder, Abounding Solutions & Author, Quietly Visible: Leading With Influence and Impact as an Introverted Leader

“Focus on enlightened leadership – at all levels. This means understanding & working on corporate culture. Challenge your hiring process to attract & retain talent, & reach beyond existing pools. Find & empower role models & allies to sponsor, mentor & hold space … & really listen to your networks.”

Julia Streets
CEO, Streets Consulting

“Whoever you are and represent, as an individual, educator, company, or government, work every day to remove the barriers that prevent girls and women succeeding brilliantly in their personal and professional lives. To make a difference to others lives, be the change maker. #BreaktheBias for girls and women.”    

Sheridan Ash MBE
Technology Innovation Leader at PwC; Founder & CEO, Tech She Can
Sheridan Ash

“We need more women leaders in the digital era. The single most important societal change to #BreaktheBias is by removing latent policy and system barriers to create a level playing field for women.This will help to dispel stereotypes so more women can compete in the digital economy.”

Catherine Chen
Director, President of the Public Affairs and Communications Dept, Huawei
Catherine Chen

To #BreakTheBias against Black and Brown women, the inferiority complex of White Supremacy must be eradicated from society.

Dr Shola Mos-ShogbamimuLawyer, Activist, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women in Leadership Publication

“#BreaktheBias requires individuals and organisations to take action. The #EthnicityPayGap Campaign published their work on The Impact of the Ethnicity Pay Gap on Black Women .The research provided recommendations on how organisations can #BreaktheBias of the Ethnicity Pay Gap on Black women. These recommendations although focused on Black women, are an essential for all ethnic groups. We must work together to #BreaktheBias for all women by supporting the initiatives of those promoting equal rights for women. It is only through unity can we achieve our goals to create a fairer society. Let’s continue to raise our voices in support of all women.”

Dianne Greyson
Director, Equilibrium Mediation Consulting & Founder, #EthnicityPayGap Campaign
Dianne Greyson

“I want a world where younger women look forward to being fifty; where gendered ageism is over and midlife is seen as the age of opportunity, the time when we become the women we are supposed to be. Our 50s should be about power, purpose and legacy when all our skills and experience come together. I want the very idea that women become invisible and forgotten when they are no longer fanciable or fecund to seem as ridiculous as the notion that a woman should stop work when she marries now seems. Ageism – particularly the point where ageism meets sexism – is the part of diversity that is always overlooked; older female voices are marginalised in almost all cultures. We need to value them and their wisdom.”

Eleanor Mills
Founder, Noon
Eleanor Mills

“IWD has been a public holiday in my home country Azerbaijan since 1965. My mother, her mother, celebrated solidarity of women in the struggle for economic, social, and political equality, sometimes marching on the streets. Some progress has been made & my generation continues to raise awareness & voice for equality. But I want to see Success stories not just Talk only! Some drastic changes are required e.g 1.Government making mandatory review of promotions and salaries for Women from all backgrounds. 2 Be an Ally to women who are seeking pay increase and promotions – some often called, labelled as ambitious & emotional. 3 Set the goals & Act on it. Let’s #BreakTheBias.”

Khayala Eylazova
PwC EMEA Deals

“Bias is enforced by those with the economic power. Currently, two thirds of all entrepreneurs are men, a gender gap equivalent to  over 1 million missing businesses. To break the bias, organisations, government, and institutions need to dismantle the invisible barriers of bias blocking women from owning an equal share of the economy.”  

Sam Cooper-Gray
Head of Market Strategy and Engagement, Global Business Banking, HSBC
Sam Cooper-Gray

“The single most important societal change that we can make in order to #BreaktheBias for women is to raise children free from gender stereotypes. Allow kids of all sexes to explore the whole gender spectrum; clothing, toys but most importantly, expectations.” 

Cat Wildman
Co-CEO & Founder, The GEC

“To #BreakTheBias we must push for more data, transparency and representation:  gender and ethnicity pay reporting, and targets for representation on boards and executive level. Until all companies have  inclusive, diverse leaders and governance the dial will move slowly.”

Debbie Forster MBE
CEO, Tech Talent Charter

Countries less biased against women are those with state – sponsored child care from creche/nursery through to Kindergarten.  This would give genuine choice to women with children; change society; and pay for itself long term.

Dame Stephanie Shirley CHIT Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

“The single most important change for breaking the bias is changing the perception that the menopause means grumpy old women with grey hair and hot flushes. In order to retain women into senior leadership roles, mid-life women need to be celebrated and supported during their 40s and 50s when they might be suffering from one of many perimenopausal symptoms. Workplaces should encourage and enable conversations about the menopause with employees of all genders and ages.”

Joy Burnford
Founder & Director, My Confidence Matters Ltd
Joy Burnford

“I would like hiring managers to use objective assessments in interviews and stop expecting women to hit a higher bar than their male counterparts for the same role. I would like women to be judged on potential, just as men are. I would like to see a shift away from the “meritocracy” excuse which is used to justify gender disparities – because science tells us women are as capable as men.”

Ambily Banerjee
Director, GSK
Ambily Banerjee

“Women have existed from the beginning of time. Now we must break down the systemic barriers that have been erected to alter the equitable status. Simplest thing we can do is acknowledging that there is nothing a woman can’t do. Our active focus must always be to consciously dismantle anything that stops equity prevailing for all. In summary there is not one single thing we can do, we must do it all so we provide a the foundation for the realisation of a better equitable future for those that follow us!”

Donna Herdsman
Managing Director: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (EMEA), Talking Talent
Donna Herdsman

“Governments and corporations need to invest in building a pipeline of powerful, visible female leaders. Innovation and problem solving are primed by diverse, collaborative teams – especially at the top.”

Ann Hiatt
Leadership Strategist & Author of Bet On Yourself
Ann Hiatt

“Every workplace should have a clear process in place to support those calling out casual sexism. We are stuck with the behaviour we walk past – so let’s be brave and speak out.”

Major Louise Bate MBE
Officer for Female Engagement, British Army

“We need to create a step change by setting up short term temporary quotas for boards, committees, specific job roles etc and provide related programmes to support women on clear pathways into those roles.”

Professor Sue Black OBE
Professor of Computer Science & Technology Evangelist

The key change I’d like to see is the introduction of affordable universal early-years childcare. This would enable women to return to work following maternity leave and prevent them dropping out of the workforce at a key point in their career. The UK is well behind neighbouring countries in Europe when it comes to affordable childcare with many women struggling to afford the early-years childcare which enables them to return to work and advance to senior roles. This has a profound effect not just on women and families but also on businesses and the economy in general. We can’t genuinely close the gender gap at work till it’s addressed.

Andrea ThompsonEditor-In-Chief, Marie Claire

“According to Forbes, it costs $810 billion globally each year due to lost productivity associated with Menopause. In order to retain the best talent and improve the bottom line, rather than focusing on the problem, organisations must focus on providing tried and tested science-based natural solutions to allow women to reclaim their wellbeing and become the best versions of themselves.”

Maryon Stewart
Healthcare Expert & CEO, Healthy, Wise & Well
Maryon-Stewart-featured

“To #BreakTheBias, we must view gender inequality as an issue which impacts all of us. In the male-dominated society we – alas – live in, male allyship has a vital role to play in helping women to achieve their goals and ambitions. Men must show that they are serious about creating environments where women have equal access to leadership positions and opportunities in the workplace.”

Russ Shaw CBE
Founder, Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates

“Without good, affordable childcare options, so many women are unnecessarily excluded from the world of work by the prohibitive cost of childcare in the UK. The government needs to tackle the issue so that parents are given a genuine choice as to whether they return to work after having children, rather than being forced to stay at home because the numbers do not add up financially.”

Jennifer Openshaw
Software Engineer, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
Jennifer Openshaw

“Teach that love is the opposite of violence.”

Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris
Founder, Inclusiq
Suzanne Doyle-Morris

“More enthusiastic support from male allies – particularly the leaders of business becoming determined to balance their senior leadership teams.”

Richard Pickard
CEO, Inclusive Search

“If you want to empower a woman, give her a microphone”

Mirela Sula
Founder & CEO, Global Woman Magazine & Global Woman Club
Mirela Sula

A third of all women and girls face violence in their lifetime. I was one of them.  Violence against women is preventable. Independent women’s rights groups are critical drivers in creating positive change. Sadly they are underfunded receiving less than 1% of U.K. aid funds. Invest more in these groups and bring down violence against women for good… 

Jacqueline de Rojas CBECEO, TechUK

“One way to #BreakTheBias is by listening, really listening to others’ stories. Starting my career in radio taught me different ways of listening. The late, great bell hooks wrote: “many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends”. If you don’t want to be one of them then learn to listen, and listen to learn!”

Bee Rowlatt
Journalist & Author of the Award-Winning, In Search of Mary
Bee-Rowlatt-featured

“Shifting the barometer by which we measure success, to focus on the health and wellbeing of all people, no matter who they are or what their beliefs or backgrounds are, is the single societal change to facilitate us to #BreaktheBias. This necessitates the removal of systems of privilege and inequality.”

Amanda Brock
CEO, OpenUK
Amanda Brock

“I would like to see organisations integrate inclusion into their overall business strategy to help banish the micro aggressions that exist and therefore restricts the growth of talented women Including an inclusive objective in every leaders compensation package will very quickly drive the the change to break the bias.”

Dr Heather Melville OBE
Chair and Non Executive Director, CMI Women
Heather Melville

“Make allyship a core leadership competency and screening criteria for all executives in senior positions, regardless of their background. The “muscles” required to do this effectively – i.e., to learn from and build trust with those with a different perspective – would contribute to greater psychological safety, less insular decision making, and lower levels of bias.”

Justine Lutterodt
Director of the Centre for Synchronous Leadership (CSL)

“I believe that several factors should be considered when looking at a fairer pension scheme for women. Several factors including maternity leave etc have a negative factor on a woman’s pension scheme, and so the pension pay gap between men and women is significantly disproportionate.”

Paul Sesay
CEO & Founder, The Inclusive Companies & The National Diversity Awards

“Even today the bias remains that men are leaders and women are not. Ultimately we need to create a quota system globally, for all nations to sign up to, that sets quotas so that 35% of leadership positions in government, legislation and corporations are filled by women. Let’s start a zero tolerance approach for a balanced new world. Right here and right now. “

Geeta Sidhu-Robb
Founder, NOSH Detox
Geeta Sidhu-Robb

At The Female Lead, we believe the single most important change that companies can make in order to #BreaktheBias for women is to create a system of hybrid working that is totally fair for every employee. We want to make sure both men and women are equally visible in the workspace and have the exact same opportunity for progression. As staff return to the office, the time to act is now.

Edwina Dunn OBEFounder & Chair, The Female Lead

“The biggest societal change we can make to #BreakTheBias is by engaging men. We need them to recognise and call out bias, challenge it and show their support by challenging the system that ultimately harms them too! The road to gender parity is not a zero sum game.”

Daniele Fiandaca
Co-Founder, Utopia

“The #MeToo movement plus the recent murders of Sarah Everard and Sabena Nessa underlined the peril women face in our daily lives. Add the hideous fact that two women are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales every week. Our work is not done, not by a long shot.”

Lady Val Corbett
Founder, Lady Val's Professional Network

“It is vital that businesses look to recognise women through meaningful promotions, opportunities and sponsorship rather than continuing to give them meaningless platitudes or compliments that don’t move women’s careers forwards”

Deborah O'Neill
Partner & Head of Digital, Europe, Oliver Wyman
Deborah O'Neill

“We need to encourage more women to step forward as role models and tell their stories. One big challenge is also the perception many employers have of women who re-enter the workforce after having a family. How can we encourage experienced, capable and motivated women to contribute to an organisation if they cannot even get their foot in the door for lack of perceived recent experience? If we considered that women whilst in caring roles outside of the workplace have developed resilience, flexibility, patience amongst many other attributes alongside work skills – they make a killer combination! So in order to have role models, we need to encourage them, and give them a chance to show exactly what they can do to help break the bias.”

Kate Emery-James
Sales Director, Trend Micro
Kate Emery-James

“When I was starting out in tech and finance 15 years ago, not many women chose a career path in financial engineering. I’m delighted to see this changing. Today I’m proud to be part of the innovation team at Finastra that is 50% women, and encompasses people from different cultures and backgrounds. The ability to share different viewpoints and skillsets when building financial and technical models is crucial to avoid baking in bias of any sort, and greater diversity in the team brings benefits for all, especially in an innovation framework. One way I’m helping to accelerate, and encourage people from all backgrounds into fintech, is through attending regular tech meetup events that are open to all. I’m also championing our upcoming hackathon event which is set to be our largest and most open yet.

Chirine BenZaied-Bourgerie
Head of Innovation, Finastra
Chirine BenZaied-Bourgerie

“To #BreakTheBias, women need to stop being seen as ‘other’ and men as ‘normal’, in business, medicine and all arenas. The prosecution and conviction rates for rape and other forms of violence against women and girls is also woefully low and needs to rise hugely – less than 2% of rape allegations currently result in a prosecution, yet we also know that women lie about rape in 3% of fewer instances of accusations being made. Women and girls needs to be believed rather than discredited or blamed when they make allegations of violence, and the emphasis for lowering the rates of male violence on women needs to be on preventing perpetrators from hurting women, not on women taking action to stop themselves being victims. The responsibility should always be with the perpetrator.”

Harriet Waley-Cohen
Award-winning Speaker, Experienced Leadership Coach & Mentor
Harriet Waley-Cohen

“The fact is, amongst the UK’s top 100 listed companies, only 31 women hold executive roles. So yes, we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. When joining a business, people want to see representations of themselves in positions of influence and power, and frankly, that’s why having male allies in the workplace that act as sponsors, champions and advocates are invaluable. Women need more men to uplift them in places where their voices are not being heard. It’s time to #breakthebias.”

Abi Adamson
Founder and DEI Director of The Diversity Partnership
Abi Adamson

“For #BreakTheBias my main ask is for companies to stop having less confidence in the ability of women to lead than their male counterparts. Lots of initiatives created to address gender inequality in the workplace actually reinforce sexism such as focussing on the alleged confidence gap of women, whereas the reality is that it is those who make decisions on hiring and promoting women in to senior roles who lack confidence in women, particularly because we may behave and communicate in a different way to what is laid out as habit by traditional alpha leadership.”

Mivy James
Digital Transformation Director & Head of Consulting, BAE Systems

“Gender equality needs to start at home. Women are always in the role of primary carer. So are the first to leave work for childcare if someone is unwell or off during school holidays. As long as this happens then they will always be thought of as secondary at work. So to all men – be on the school WhatsApp, share the pick-ups and drop offs, cancel your meeting for the emergency pick up. Let the next generation of parents see you leave work early and share that responsibility. That would be a fundamental change.”

Steph Douglas
Founder, Don't Buy Her Flowers
Steph Douglas

In order to #BreaktheBias, companies need to start becoming #BloodyGoodEmployers and ensuring their workplace works for anyone who menstruates!

Gabby EdlinFounder & CEO, Bloody Good Period

“More resources to identify potential perpetrators of violence against women and girls, more convictions, tougher sentences and stronger legislation to tackle this issue.”

Caroline Graham
Head of Legal External Engagement, Barclays

“We need to create a step change by setting up short term temporary quotas for boards, committees, specific job roles etc and provide related programmes to support women on clear pathways into those roles.”

Professor Sue Black OBE
Professor of Computer Science & Technology Evangelist
Sue Black

“The societal change I’d most like to see to help continue to #breakthebias is gender balance in corporate leadership driving inclusive business models and practices all the way across their organisations.”

Birgit Neu
Senior DEI Advisor & Former Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, HSBC
Birgit Neu

“By having better understanding of the experiences of and support for females who have been abused, tougher legislation for perpetrators, and a greater openness to talk about violence against girls and women, we can all #breakthebias.”

Ruth Cooper-Dickson
Positive Psychology Practitioner, Coach & Managing Director, Champs Consulting
Ruth Cooper-Dickson

“Can you imagine the effect if we ALL took a breath and actively heightened our individual awareness levels and took responsibility for the persisting gender bias? What would the consequences look like? Let’s give it a go. Awareness is a pathway to action.”

Kerrie Sinclair Dorman
Founder, The Association of Business Mentors
Kerrie Sinclair Dorman

“There is a tension between cancel culture and the deeper learning needed to make meaningful change. We need to create brave spaces where everyone can share their experiences of bias as well as their biases. That’s how we will develop true diversity from the inside out.”

Mia Forbes Pirie
Mediator
Mia Forbes Pirie

“Organisations need to commit to driving change for women in the workplace by taking action. They need to create programmes that encourage advocacy and sponsorship for women to move into senior leadership roles. Let us challenge the bias by collective action. It is time to elevate women’s voices, give them a seat at the table and opportunities to thrive in the workplace as well as the wider society. I leave you with my favourite quote from Indira Gandhi “Have a bias toward action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right.”

Akua Opong
Senior Analyst, London Stock Exchange Group

“In my view, the most important global change we could achieve to #BreaktheBias would be equal access to education. While advances have been made to level the playing field for boys and girls to pursue STEM interests in schools, this is not universally true. And opportunities for skills development and training through education vary widely. Until we address these gaps, corporations seeking top technologists will continue to pick from an applicant pool favouring men. We must blaze a trail for genderless STEM educational opportunity.”

Laura Barrowman
Credit Suisse Group CIO, Teach For All Board Member, TechSheCan Trustee

“In my view we need to do many things, starting with creating greater awareness and recognition of the problem. The most important thing is to remove biases at the earliest stages of education, so that all genders view the same opportunities and aspirations when deciding their education and career choices. As a science based-technology company, 3M’s particular focus is challenging the under-representation of women in science and engineering roles, promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in these professions – giving everyone a seat at the table to better shape our world for the future.”

Milla Olo
Chair, North Europe Region Women’s Leadership Forum 3M

After 12 months in which the daily reality of harassment and violence against women has been made plainer than ever before, we must now seize this moment to #BreakTheBias that sees us live in fear, change our behaviour and means one of us is killed at the hands of a man every three days in the UK. The next year could be a watershed moment, if we push hard enough. Now is the time.

Claire CohenWomen’s Editor & Associate Features Editor, The Telegraph

“We have to behave like there is no bias or we will find ourselves waiting for bias to be fixed. As a female leader and role model for other women who look to us for inspiration, let’s no longer give bias room to breathe.”

Susie Ramroop
Mindset Coach & International Speaker, Make Life Simple Ltd
Susie-Ramroop

“When it comes to misogyny against black and brown women, differently-abled women, lesbian women, refugee women and trans women – if men and boys see something, they say something.”

 

Simon Gallow
Advocate and HeForShe Lead, UN Women UK
Simon Gallow

“What’s the one thing we can all do to #breakthebias? Promote Proportionately, so those who join organisations in junior roles break through to better  representation at the top.”

Ann Francke OBE
CEO, Chartered Management Institute
Ann Francke

“Perceptions set in early on in an individual’s life and therefore as parents we need to ensure we are not limiting our daughters. As partners, we need to drive equality at home so that children see equality in their parents. It is important for organisations to support the female talent pipeline with policies, processes  and programs that drive equity in the workplace and prevent the pipeline leak.”

Tribeni Chougule
Director, Inclusive Impact and Sustainability Team, Europe, VISA

“If we really want to #breakthebias we need to take an honest look at what our business needs to operate at its best AND what our people need. The “one-size fits all” approach to work is over, going forward business needs to understand that to keep its best talent it has to work around their lives, rather than vice versa.”

Harriet Minter
Journalist, Speaker & Director, The HVM Group
Harriet Minter

“We need many more minority ethnic women on boards and the removal of multiple systemic barriers to make this happen. There is still a lot of bias inherent in the processes that most companies use to source, select and appoint non-executive board members. This results in capable and well-qualified minority ethnic women being overlooked for board appointments, especially for appointment onto commercial boards.”

Professor Dr. Funke Abimbola MBE
Chief Executive Officer, The Austen Bronte Consultancy
Funke Abimbola

“Gender bias is usually a lot less overt these days. We can all be guilty of it. What one thing would I recommend to tackle it – treat everyone as an individual and from a work perspective, really get to know your colleagues, it can really help with those unhelpful assumptions that we can all make.”

Ania Rontaler
Partner, Simmons & Simmons
Ania Rontaler

“Continuing to invest in girls and young women – the leaders and changemakers of the future. We need role models and mentors across sectors, and champions for those who typically don’t or can’t access particular paths, because it’s hard to be what you cannot see, and it’s hard to play the game when nobody has taught you the rules.”

Charly Young MBE
CEO & Co-founder, The Girls' Network
charly young

“How do we #BreaktheBias for women? Education. Education. Education. That’s what changes the world into something better. We must all play a part in educating ourselves, our children, partners, friends, colleagues, employers, politicians. A world free of bias starts with educating society about it.”

Penny Triantafillou
Business Development Manager, Warwick Business School

Stop mistaking confidence for competence. They’re not the same thing. If we take people at their word, we’ll hire and promote the bombastic but under-competent man rather than the modest but super-competent woman. Let’s judge people on their ability, not their bullshit!

Mary-Ann SeighartJournalist, Author, Non-Executive Director, Broadcaster

“No woman deserves to live a life from a horror movie. #Breakthebias and reform laws to prevent inequality and punish domestic violence – globally.”

Didem Un Ates
Applied Strategy, Data & AI, CDO Office, Microsoft

“Now is the time to stop inequality against girls and women in all spheres of our lives. But, first, let us commit to ending biases whenever we encounter them.”

Faith Ruto
CEO & Founder, Executive Coach, Author and Speaker
Faith Ruto

“Provide affordable, high quality childcare for the early years so that women remain in the workforce.”

Lisa Unwin
Founder, She's Back
Lisa Unwin

“To me, Breaking the Bias can’t happen without organisations reporting clear and meaningful Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) data. As a woman, navigating the field of work and separating the facts from fiction about how diverse a company is feels like another full-time job. Data helps cut through all of this and lets us focus on facts. Data can show us how well an employer is paying, whether they are promoting women equally and whether there is a pattern of discrimination. If organisations really want to be transparent about how they treat their female employees, then they need to collect and report on meaningful data. Only then can we really start to shift the needle.” 

Alexa Grellet
Co-Founder & Commercial Director, HR Datahub
Alexa Grellet

“At LMF Network, we’ve found that 50% of women feel they need a mentor to progress in the works place vs 5% of men. In addition to this, the top 3 reasons for their lack of confidence includes imposter syndrome, lack of negotiation skills and career knowledge. Therefore, through the Like Minded Females Network we ensure that we can build these skills gaps through mentoring, workshop and community. Therefore, to break the bias we encourage every company to encourage their people to take part in a skills based mentoring programme to support their confidence, capabilities and careers. And further, to acknowledge the gaps which do exist and fill them through the relevant, intersectional and accessible resources. This is more than a moment in time, it’s building their skills for their futures.”

Sonya Barlow
Founder, Like Minded Females
Sonya-Barlow-12

“This International Women’s Day to #BreakTheBias I’d like to see every organisation commit to being a Menopause Friendly employer. This means putting the right awareness, education and support in place. In doing so, we start to break down barriers, explode myths and remove stereotypes around the menopause. By opening up the conversation, workplaces can create an environment where menopause can be talked about openly and anyone who needs support can feel confident asking for it. By keeping experience within an organisation we enable a future leadership pipeline, create midlife role models, ensure we don’t loose our great people to a menopause friendly competitor and don’t allow talent to walk past our door.”

 

Sharon Vibert
Director, Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace
Sharon Vibert

The biggest societal change would be to recognise that women are not underrepresented in senior roles in UK business, but that men are over represented. Bold steps rather than tentative advice is necessary and that starts with incentivising organisations to make change happen Without more diversity, equity and inclusion at the top, the UK will lose its ability to be competitive globally.

Jenny Garrett OBEAward-Winning Career Coach & Leadership Trainer

“I strongly believe in the role that education plays in making change within society. There needs to be a bigger focus on the younger generation, who are our future leaders, in educating and instilling in them the fundamental need to break the bias. We learn from those around us and are largely a product of our environment, so I think it’s critical we create an environment for young people to learn that there is no place for sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism and so on.”

 

Maya Welford
Behavioural Finance Specialist, Barclays
Maya Welford

“To effectively #BreaktheBias, we have to uncover unconscious bias and tackle it head on. Everyone in the business ecosystem has a responsibility for the decisions they’re making and we must work to raise awareness of unconscious bias and its potential impacts. Building a culture of personal responsibility is paramount and this should be supported with unconscious bias training and a thorough review of all decision-making processes to ensure any bias is raised and challenged.”

KatIe Nagy De Nagybaczon
Corporate Partner and Co-Founder of #LeadHers at CMS

“In order to #BreakTheBias, it’s key to see and understand what stereotypes and biased opinions are; particularly unconscious biases. Leadership training should equip leaders with the tools to understand and be aware of stereotypes which may unconsciously occur in their minds; whether it’s unfair judgements based on gender, race or more. Once this is understood, firms and individuals must learn how to effectively manage their biases, how to then change their behaviors, and lastly have a tangible means to track the progress they are making.”

Kiran Hothi & Sonam Kaur
Co-Founders, Not Your Wife
Kiran-Hothi-Sonam-Kaur

“Broader representation of women in the media to include a wider age group, particularly those of us in the baby boomer generation, and across the class and cultural divide. Culture is always a reflection of society and women of all ages, ethnicity, ability and class make up 50% of the global population. Let’s see this looking back at us and break the bias.”

Lynne Parker
Founder & CEO, Funny Women CIC

“It is crucial that everyone, irrespective of who you are, is involved to #BreaktheBias. Firstly by listening and understanding the lived experiences of others, and providing equity and visibility within organisations to ensure that talented people from marginalised communities, can thrive without limitations.”

Roni Savage
Chartered Engineer, Chartered Geologist and SILC (Specialist in Land Condition)
Roni Savage Commercial portrait

“We #breakthebias by taking action. Everyone can play their part just by using their voice to remove the barriers that exist for women and make advancing their progress a priority. Take action by removing out of date policies, encouraging male allyship, mentoring and sponsorship, and building inclusive workplace cultures that will attract and retain women, now and in the future.”

Rav Bumbra
Founder, Structur3dpeople & Cajigo
Rav-Bumbra-1

“Let’s help Mothers be Mothers. I’d love to see more support and flexible working hours for Mothers – they are growing, nurturing and bringing up our future generations. With the right support I believe you can achieve a perfect balance navigating motherhood whilst maintaining a prosperous career and continuing to achieve career goals. Let’s stop choosing between them both!”

Paige Gillard
Founder, Poppy + Ted
Paige Gillard

“Beware of bias. Respect everyone equally. Always be ready to help and elevate those whose voices are not heard. And with compassion, help those with conscious or unconscious biases to see.”

Davina Young
Experience Design Director, SOC.OS
Davina Young

“To #BreakTheBias we must end gendered ageism and recognise that #AgeismIsNeverInStyle. Both personally and professionally, women are constantly assessed, judged and valued based on their age, resulting in the denigration and underappreciation of the true value of every woman at every age.”

Jacynth Bassett
Founder & CEO of The Bias Cut and Ageism Is Never In Style

“As a leader at technology consultancy, BJSS, I recognise how important it is for there to be more female role models at a senior level – especially in an industry that is dominated by men. It is estimated that almost 1 million women need to be hired to reach gender parity in the UK tech sector – so International Women’s Day reminds me about how important it is to break gender biases. Not only does the sector need more representation at senior and board level to create female role models, but female leaders also need to inspire the next generation and show that technology is a viable and exciting option for their career.”

Hannah Tharp
Head of Consulting, BJSS
Hannah Tharp

“It’s empowering to see how words and gestures are turning into action with the theme of ‘Break the Bias’. We know that as an industry we must work together to implement a roadmap for change that drives greater equality and inclusion if we want to address bias. I’ve been at Samsung UK for a number of years now and whilst there is always more to do, I’ve been really encouraged at the changes made to champion equality whether it’s a more equal split of male and female colleagues being put forward for promotion , a pilot mentorship scheme to increase women in leadership roles and unconscious bias training rolled out throughout our business.”

Tanya Weller
Marketing Director, Samsung UK & Founder of Employee Resource Group, [email protected]
Tanya Weller, headshot

“We need to actively seek to promote and support women into senior roles. We must seek to provide equal progression opportunities across all our teams and be inclusive. I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to speak out and help eliminate bias. I can’t say the future workplace will ever be directly ‘equal’, as in a 50/50 split of male to female in the same roles, but the future workplace and the employees in it will feel ‘equal’. Younger women will feel more empowered to join more male dominated industries. They’ll know that they will be accepted and supported and that all opportunities are within their reach.”

Shadeen Warner
Head of Customer Success, Civica
Shadeen Warner
“We need different types of people in the workroom, working together to solve complex problems like climate change and that can’t happen if we hold biases and stick to stereotypes on who can do what. It’s not enough to solve the problem on the surface only, we really need to get to the root cause.”
Ramani Lachyman
Research Scientist, Cervest
Ramani Lachyan
“I have two daughters and International Women’s Day is always really important to remind me to continue to bang that drum and support efforts to encourage more women to consider a career in technology. It’s really important to me to highlight that you can have an impact within the technology and community space without the technology and science degree and continue to fight the bias”
Liane Rainbow
Head of People and Talent, Cervest

“As an industry if we want to develop and retain female talent we need to get better at enabling a work-life balance which allows you to be a parent AND have a seat at the table. If the pandemic has taught us one thing about flexible working, it is that it can be more productive and by no means you are doing any less of the job, if anything you are doing more.”

Rachel McShane
CFO, Digital Wallets, Paysafe
Rachel McShane

“To break the bias, we need to know it. We need to become more sensitive to not only the known, obvious biases, but also the subtle ones that we aren’t aware of, which limit women from reaching their full potential. I hope we get smarter about these hidden biases!”

Chi Eun Lee
EVP & Chief of Staff at Paysafe, and [email protected] Executive Sponsor
Chi Eun Lee

“I believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to tackle bias in the workplace. I know it can feel uncomfortable, but to really break bias down it’s going to take some tricky conversations. To do this, we can make sure everyone is included, whether that be a team meeting or in informal settings. We should also avoid going to the same team member when an opportunity arises, so someone new can step up and take on a new project. To me, the future workplace will be a place where all feel welcome, where different points of view and ideas are actively encouraged and are the norm. We need a workplace where younger women can look up and see not one, but many role models and various career paths open to them and they feel empowered to succeed on their terms. Ultimately where we no longer need to have the conversation about bias or quotas because our workplace reflects the population in all its diversity.”

Rachel Steenson
New Business Development, Civica
Rachel Steenson

“This year I was made Managing Director of Armadillo CRM, not because I am a woman but because of the value, I add. I am proud to have been chosen as their first female MD and hope to help future generations feel inspired and not held back by their gender(s). #BreakTheBias”

Joanna Penn
MD, Armadillo

“International Women’s Day encourages us to recognise unfair bias not only in the world, and the workplace, but specifically in technology too. We are calling upon the financial services industry to join us in breaking the bias, and to take note of the threat that it poses to our industry and society more broadly. We pledge to be ‘Open by Default’ and continuously work to challenge bias in fintech and financial services. To achieve this, Finastra is continuing its journey towards 50:50 male to female ratios across all its teams. We pledge to build inclusive products and services focused on accessibility and usability and are fully committed to tackling AI Bias and continuing our journey to enable financial inclusion for all. Coinciding with International Women’s Day, we are launching a hackathon event that is open to all, and encouraging more women to join the finance, tech and innovation space. One of our goals is to shine a light on female talent in the industry by finding and celebrating balanced teams pushing the boundaries of AI and machine learning. I’m proud to say we are passionate about having an open culture at Finastra, providing our workforce with the space to be themselves and feel supported. This International Women’s Day and beyond, we pledge to break the bias and embrace an inclusive and open environment where women, men, all can thrive.”

Sharon Doherty
Chief People Officer Finastra
Sharon Doherty
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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