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Breaking the Bias - IWD 2022

Imagine the world where your gender, race, sexual orientation, body size, religion beliefs, disability do not define you. All people have equal rights and opportunities regardless of <insert any of the categories>.

In this world, women feel safe walking down the alley in the dark evenings, we are all paid equally based on our contributions and our government is diverse and balanced, so we no longer need to measure representation by 30% quotes. In this world, social media does not portray harmful stereotypes and we are not judged for exploring the world openly without any prejudice. 

Imagine in this world, you meet a young girl and you ask her what she would like to be when she grows up. Her answer may vary from STEM scientist to a Supermodel of the World and you without a slightest judgement in your eyes encourage her to dream bigger. 

There are many reasons why this world exists only in our imagination. However there is so much that you can personally do to narrow this gap. Every year International Women's Day (IWD) announces the theme and this is year #BreakingTheBias. Everyone develops unconscious biases which is a result of our limited cognitive capacity. Our brain automatically takes shortcuts and processes the information based on visual clues into certain categories and makes snap judgements and assumptions. Having unconscious bias does not make us bad people; however being conscious and aware of our limitations make us better. 

If no one is immune to bias what can you do? Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman suggests Thinking Fast and Slow. Indeed, we rely on our unconscious ability to process 99% of the information we receive. These skills are crucial for us to survive, however I invite you to slow down and check on yourself ‘why do I feel that way about someone?’. Be honest with yourself and notice the language you are using. I noticed that I comment on young girls' appearances much more often than on boys. So next time my friend posts a cute photo of her daughter, I will comment ‘she is fierce/ strong/ independent/ smart..’ Don’t get me wrong, if I love the shoes she is wearing, I will comment ‘I love your shoes’, but by simply saying ‘you are pretty’ eventually enforces the message that her worth is somewhat dependent on her look. 

At ILM, we celebrate diversity. One of our key values is empowerment of every person without defining them. We designed our kimonos to give you that power feeling and freedom of choice to be whoever you wish. However, we encourage you to look into the mirror - embrace and celebrate your individuality and authentic self. Happy IWD! 


 


Sandra Dailidyte

writer

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