International Women's Day: #BreakTheBias

A collaborative piece on how we as women #BreakTheBias we experience in our day to day lives.

International Women's Day: #BreakTheBias

Happy International Women's Day! 

This year's theme is #BreakTheBias, and for some women, breaking the bias isn't a choice but a necessity, a means of survival. In our society, we can thank the great women of the past for the fights they won that allow us to continue challenging the patriarchy and defying its expectations of what a woman should be. Whether breaking down doors previously closed to us or rewriting what it means to be a woman, breaking the bias can take many different forms, and each woman can express it differently. 

So, in this collaborative piece, all the women and those who identify as female at Voice reflect on how we #BreakTheBias in our everyday lives to simply exist exactly as we are. 

Rosie Amos


I am breaking the bias through my love of classical music and theatre and my wish for making it more accessible for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. I want to end the illusion of hierarchy within the musical and theatrical world. I feel that there is so much snobbery around classical music and traditional theatre, and I want to prove that the arts are universal and not designed to be placed into boxes for certain groups of people. I #BreakTheBias by making it my goal for everyone to discover and enjoy all types of music, theatre and film without doubt or judgement, as the arts are for all people, whoever they are.

Saskia Calliste


As a fat, Black female living in a society that favours and champions the polar opposite of everything I am, I would argue that my very existence breaks the bias of what a woman should be by the standards of –  not only men – but the Western world. I grew up working-class around people who were told not to have aspirations because it’s unlikely to come true – thank God for my mother. I’m a published writer several times over, with my name on a book and the privilege to put myself and my aspirations first. I will continue to #BreakTheBias and take up as much space as possible to get where I want to go and to make room for others just like me. 

Amy Clewlow


Personally, as a Media Editor, I feel that people often assume that it’s a man’s job. Countless times I’ve told people I’m an Editor, and they seem shocked as if to say, “I didn’t know women could do that” - even though Margaret Booth was one of the first film editors in 1923. I am by far not an exception; I am one of the millions of women who #BreakTheBias in male-dominated jobs every day.

Flo Cornall


I celebrate myself daily. My achievements, my body, my voice - I reclaim back my own narrative and let it speak for itself. I have been told either to constantly compete or compare myself to those around me for so long. The self-critic within me can be louder than reason sometimes. Honestly, it’s exhausting. I won’t live in shame. I #BreakTheBias by smashing both my own and society’s expectations. I am proud of who I’ve become and the lessons I continue to learn along the way. 

Lucy Evans


Being a northern, working-class woman in the art industry, I break the bias. I don’t conform to the normative idea that the majority hold of what an ‘artist’ would look or sound like. By pursuing a career in art, I hope to continue to abolish the stereotypes within the industry and prove to other young women that being in any creative role is not just attainable but sustainable too. When I first set out to pursue art, I actually did so under a pseudonym to hide my identity through the fear that it would hold me back - but now, I embrace who I am and how it influences my work - and that is how I #BreakTheBias.

Elle Farrell-Kingsley


Often being one of the only women in my MMA classes means I am breaking the bias by turning up and showing that we can do it too. But more importantly, it’s outside of these classes where I #BreakTheBias and spread the word, often met with complete and utter shock and surprise, that I would do such a thing. “Really, you?” “But you’re so small” “You don’t actually practice with men, do you??”. Yes, yes, I do. And I hope for the day with more mixed classes. 

Cande Gomez


I #BreakTheBias when I build my career in a male-dominated industry like music as a South American woman. Every time I compose, produce or perform a piece, I think of all the women who couldn’t do it throughout history. Although much remains to be done, I’m very proud of every woman breaking it in the music industry, and I celebrate the work of every woman/person who identifies as a woman out there.

Claire Jenns


I break the bias by focusing on female friendship in all areas of my life. Women are taught to see one another as rivals in professional, social and academic spaces, perpetuating the lie that male approval is the ultimate reward. Fighting against this pressure and redirecting the attention that the patriarchy wants women to give to men solely opens up the joys of female friendship and support, as women have so much to learn from each other at all stages of life. In channelling this in everything I do, I #BreakTheBias.

Lauren Johnson


As a female journalist, I break the bias. On multiple occasions, people have asked me why I am pursuing a career in print journalism in a world that has become so digital. If this were everyone’s attitude, there would be no one to use the power of words to tell real people’s stories. I strive to give a voice to those who need one and promote positive change in communities by bringing awareness to issues that affect people every day. By using good, ethical journalism for others to benefit from, I #BreakTheBias and negative association sometimes associated with journalists who use their power for selfish reasons.

Faith Martin


As a working-class, disabled woman in the music industry, I break the bias by pursuing my passion and encouraging others in similar situations to do the same. Working-class and disabled women in journalism are rare, but adding a male-dominated industry like music to the mix can make it even more challenging to break through. I hope to #BreakTheBias by setting an example of what a young woman can achieve regardless of background or disability and prove that others like me are capable of great things when given a chance. 

Molly McIntosh


I feel like I am breaking the bias by just being myself. I don’t let the pressure of society dictate the way I act or concern myself with being ‘ladylike’ enough. I also don’t feel the need for the approval of others for the way that I physically present myself. If I want to dress more masculine or tomboy-ish, then I will. If I decide to dress more feminine, then I will do that as well. I will do it because I want to, not because of some passing comment being told that I would look better in a dress or skirt rather than jeans and a hoody. I #BreakTheBias by doing what I want when I want, so suck it.

Daisy Mellor


To break the bias, I try to challenge comments, opinions or language that I think are outdated or inappropriate. For example, the words’ bird’ or ‘chick’ to describe women are frequently said, but they are patronising and perpetuate sexist ideas. I try to call people out if I hear them used. Calling out views or language like this is difficult and awkward, especially with friends and family, but it is something we can all try and work on doing more of – challenging others’ and our own biases. That is how I #BreakTheBias.

Rukaiah Moulana

As the daughter of first-generation immigrants, I aim to break the bias by pursuing a career in journalism. A significant fraction of women from immigrant households will pursue jobs out of necessity to provide rather than to meet their interests. I am empowered by the women around me to #BreakTheBias in following my interests and passions instead of a more suitable vocation. I’m reminded of the biases women throughout history have broken to pave the way for someone of my background to have this opening.

Sheona Mountford


As a writer, I feel like I am challenging the expectations of women all of the time. When I create female characters in fiction, they are always a little bit subversive. When written by a man, women in literature sometimes represent their ideals or fears. I feel my writing helps create more rounded characters and an insight into a female perspective. My background is also important in everything I do. Growing up working-class means my perspective is unique to my situation. So, entering spaces that economically privileged individuals usually have access to can be intimidating. However, I #BreakTheBias by making sure my voice and perspectives are heard in these situations – it’s something important to me. 

Sadhana Narayanan


I break the bias through my writing. When I watch or read something that resonates with me strongly, especially when it touches on experiences that relate to my experience as a woman, I often express this through my writing. When personal or public, this allows me to #BreakTheBias and assumptions I often see in the critical perspectives of media consumers. Expressing myself is how I break stereotypes placed on me. 

Milli-Rose Rubin


Breaking the bias is a challenging concept to see in yourself. I believe that I break the bias by using personal trauma in past and present chapters and channelling them into my writing. The “taboo” or “embarrassing” subjects are ones I aim to bring to light, primarily around poverty. Although it can take self-discipline to reflect and process my chapters, exposing the realities of things like food banks, temporary housing, and grief hopefully resonates with the reader in some form. It is incredibly hard to give a subjective view on these topics as I am not an outsider. Still, diving deep into the memories that are boxed off into different categories helps me #BreakTheBias.

Dulcie Thomas


As an often femme-presenting nonbinary person, I’m assumed just to be a woman. Although my gender identity does include being a woman, it also includes being a man. There is a perception of nonbinary people having to look like one specific kind of androgyny to “pass” as nonbinary – a look that is unattainable and unrelatable for many nonbinary people. I suppose I #BreakTheBias by showing that “gendered” traits are arbitrary. There is no right way to look like a woman, look like a man, look nonbinary. This applies to me, and it can apply to anyone else too.

Olivia Wyatt


I break the bias by being honest with my struggles with things that are traditionally kept a secret. I try to be as honest as I can with money, emotions, mental health and anything else. I feel as though being as honest as possible with these situations is an opportunity for everyone to come together and help each other. For example, finances and money are considered to be taboo subjects, where everyone is scared to share any troubles and get advice from their peers. However, I would happily sit down and be as transparent as possible. If I can help someone be honest and real about my situation concerning others, I will. I #BreakTheBias on taboo topics.

Header Image Credit: Lucy Evans


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