Today, Tuesday March 8th, is International Women’s Day (IWD). IWD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and a day that is a call to action to push forward women’s equality. FAULHABER is a proudly female-founded, female-led company and we believe in celebrating women not just today, but every day. That being said, IWD marks an important opportunity to reflect on the state of inequality and to focus on action that needs to be made. This year the global campaign is centred around #BreakTheBias and is focused on creating a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.
Our team is primarily women. Smart, thoughtful, talented and passionate women. It is an honour to work alongside these accomplished women from Gen Z to Gen X, and to have worked with so many strong and powerful women over the years. But even amongst such an accomplished group of educated and empowered women, I often witness behaviours that have been engrained in us by the very bias that we are trying to break. From undermining our strength by using words like “just” or “maybe” to physically shrinking our bodies in meetings or deferring to men in a room for the final say. In many of my 1:1s with female team members over the years, I have encouraged colleagues to push for their ideas, celebrate their accomplishments and advocate for what they want. Last year I shared a blog post about how to better support your female peers including some of these tactics, and I also wrote a blog post about how to break gender bias sharing tips from an amazing book I read.
And yet, I am also guilty of succumbing to this bias. During one of our recent all-agency meetings, our team watched a mind-blowing video for International Women’s Day that showcased how deep gender bias runs. The video asked a riddle about a man taking his son for an interview with a high-profile firm. Right before the interview, while the man was in the car with the son, he receives a call from the company’s CEO who says, “Good luck, Son.” The riddle then asks who he was talking to and interviews several different people who don’t come up with the right answer, which is his mother. The people in the video, and most of our team, were stumped on the riddle because we are taught that CEOs aren’t women. Embarrassingly, I must admit my initial thought while watching the video was that it was his stepfather.
So how can we #BreakTheBias? To start, by changing the narrative. PR is all about telling stories, and now is the moment to create tales that honor women and all of their various accomplishments. Check out our International Women’s Day PR guide! Not just today, not just for the month, but consistently throughout the year and beyond. As PR professionals we can craft stories that celebrate women and portray them in ways that break down gender norms. We can pitch ideas and profiles of amazing women that are disrupting their industries and doing incredible things. We can create content that highlights women in roles of power and strength. We can help drive the stories that will make the next generation answer the riddle without even thinking of it. Yes, women can be CEOs. Yes, women can be inventors and politicians and leaders and more. We are already doing that, but we have the opportunity in media and PR and social media to share these stories more prolifically.
FAULHABER is proud to work with many female-led companies from Shauna Levy’s Madge & Mercer, a cannabis wellness company that is speaking specifically to women over 40, to sustainable fashion label NUMI’s Michelle Shemilt, to Marlow, an inspiring new start-up that is disrupting menstrual products founded by four Gen Z female friends and more.
For this International Women’s Day and month, and beyond, we will be doing our part to share stories of amazing women in a newly launched series called Feeling Inspired. This video series will share women’s stories about their own careers, while also highlighting women that have inspired them to get to where they are today. Sharing women-led stories, celebrating other women for their successes, and changing the narrative – these are all part of the magic sauce required to #BreakTheBias not just on IWD but every day. We hope you tune in to the new series and engage with your thoughts!