International Women's Day
This International Women's Day we will be featuring female entrepreneurs that we admire asking the question based on this years theme — #BreakTheBias.
Question: What does "Breaking Bias" mean for you? What gender bias would you like to break?
Here is what they said:
Rugs By Roo – WEBSITE
To me, "Breaking Bias" means bringing to light a tendency that is so ingrained in our subconscious that we're not even aware of its occurrence. And the finger points to myself as much as it does to others.
I am a mom. I also run my own business from home. The assumption is that I am the primary attender to my kids and that my business is secondary.
I feel guilty when I need to attend a work meeting and need my husband to look after the kids for an hour or two. While I know my husband thinks nothing of it, I worry about what his mother or others would think if they find out.
The truth is, while I do prioritize my kids over anything else, this should be a choice I get to make for myself and shouldn't be an expectation held over my head.
Equally so, it's unfair to my husband that he gets no credit for his contributions. He is fully capable of watching all three kids without me. But people always turn to me and say "oh wow, you're a super mom! I don't know how you do it" when in fact, I don't do it alone. My husband plays an equal role in this family.
There is a culture of professionalism that looks at emotions and vulnerability as a sign of weakness. It's something that I note within myself as an underlying negotiation of “how to be” or “be seen” to be considered as a “legit” player in the world of business and as a leader.
How can I be my authentic self (messy feelings and all) yet also be professional?
The bias I’d like to break is that being a good leader is to cultivate emotional intelligence and that this needs to be integrated into our work life. Thankfully leaders like Brenee Brown are moving this conversation forward. That our vulnerabilities are an asset and strength; not a weakness.
Personally, It’s something I work on, on a daily basis, and draw support from other women in business, including those featured in this blog. It's here where I can feel safe to be my authentic self.
I also look for it (self awareness) when hiring staff, as it helps me to know how they need to be led. I encourage a culture of open communication with my team as a way for us to understand and support one another other. In a way it's easier for me to be this way in (my business) life, than to pretend I have no feelings at all.
Chickpea Pasta – WEBSITE
I want to break the bias that women can do it all and even more so, should WANT to do it all.
The pressures that society has put on women to be perfect mothers, wives, housekeepers, cooks, etc. haven't lifted or softened since women entered the workforce. In fact, I would argue that they've only increased with the presence of social media.
While it's widely accepted in North American society that women (should) have equal opportunity in the workforce, there is still this deep rooted bias that women should still run their households and be primary caregivers, even if they're also the primary breadwinner.
Whereas, men often grow up to believe that as long as they provide for their family and "help out" here and there, they're doing their duty.
Trying to be everything to everyone causes women to feel extreme guilt, burnout and unhappiness. If we could unlearn all the things society has taught women they should be, we would live in a more fair, prosperous and beautiful world.
MIK+MAT – WEBSITE
Breaking bias for me is personal. It means starting from the inside; showing up for myself in an honest and authentic way.
In my experience, I have had many opportunities to meet like minded women that challenge the very stereotypes and biases we are fighting against.
The bias I am trying to chip away and break is the notion that I must first “quiet” myself to lead. I want to be assertive, without having to bear the weight of being palatable enough, and nice enough to please others. I can lead. I can show up, and I do.
As women, we have always been taught to think of others and to serve them first, which is an aspect of myself that I do like. However, we all equally deserve to sit at a table that welcomes all elements of our human essence, not just parts that maintain the status quo.
This Is J – WEBSITE
To create a world where difference is valued and celebrated, I turn to my team of strong, independent and hard working women.
How I run my company, the way we engage with our community and the products we make, are all influenced by the insight and experiences of my team.
It is important to me to actively listen and incorporate the ideas of others to expand my own viewpoints. Our continued growth and success comes from being able to step outside ourselves and to listen and actively try and understand the experiences of others without judgment.
The bias that I’m breaking is I’m choosing to run my business with a predominantly female team and from a female focused perspective mixing entrepreneurship with the real life responsibilities that come with motherhood.