“Celebrating the past, planning for the future.”
This was the first International Women’s Day theme adopted by the U.N. in 1975 to honor women.
Since then and throughout history, women all over the world have gone on to break the barriers and bias against their gender and do great things.
Women like Politican and Women’s Rights Advocate Clara Zetkin. Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. The women of the Aba women’s riot (Ogu Umunwanyi). These women have fought for the right to live freely, to vote, to be heard, and to be protected.
Despite all the great strides towards gender equity taken by women, there are still many biases that have yet to be broken. In 2021, only 26% of all CEOs and managing directors were women.
This year, the International Women’s Day (IWD) theme is #BreakTheBias. The U.N. urges us to shun the harmful gender prejudice in our society and break the biases we carry both individually and as a whole.
In celebration of IWD and in support of this year’s theme, we interviewed some women employees (affectionately known as Taboolars) on different areas of their lives to discover how they are breaking gender biases in their own way.
Area of study
Aama Harwood, an Advertising Account Manager in New York, studied Biology (pre-med) with a focus on botany. At the time, she wanted to be a doctor who focused on plant medicine, a career that breaks not only gender stereotypes but many medical stereotypes as well.
This background is shared by Mariana Lopes de Jesus, Advertising Account Management Team Lead for LATAM. Mariana studied cinema at university, a world where all men want to be directors. “…they don’t want to be producers, art directors or costume designers or makeup artists. Either they are photographers or directors, so it is a struggle for women to impose themselves and occupy these spaces,” says Mariana.
Bar Rubin, a computer science major and Software Engineer working from Tel Aviv, tells us about her experience in the workplace and school. She says that computer science is a male-dominated area of study, and she has encountered that bias in her career as well.
“As a new developer, I like to learn new technologies. In my team, there are five people and I’m the only female.” – Bar Rubin, Software Engineer, R&D
This is also the case with Karen Palman, a R&D Team Leader working from Israel. She studied Geophysics in school, which proved to be a career path dominated by males. She also sees this in her job, saying:
“I’m in a manly environment. In many of my Zoom meetings I’m the only woman.”
For Advertising Account Management Director Brenda Chung, who works from APAC, breaking gender bias is something she is familiar with. She works while her husband stays home to take care of the children and run the family. According to Brenda, this is not typical in Asian culture, and she has faced some criticism as a result.
“There are still a lot of biases toward stay-at-home dads and working moms. I am proud that we are raising two strong girls. I wish the world to be an open and inclusive place for them when they grow up, so they can be whoever they want to be, kids, no kids, work, stay at home, marry whoever, etc.” – Brenda Chung, Director, Advertising Account Management
“I love football! I have been to multiple Euro cups, World Cup, and FA and Champions League games. I think it’s often overlooked that women can also like typically male sports.”
This comes from Anya Libova, a Publisher Sales Director working from London.
For Roxanne Becker, who is a Publisher Account Management Team Lead for EMEA, breaking the bias is as simple as doing strength training, parkour, climbing, and Olympic rings.
“… strength training and parkour are not something we attributed to women in the past, but I am happy to see more and more women getting into it. It’s so empowering. Let’s have more of that!,” she says.
Celebrating International Women’s Day with Women Living Their Lives the Way They Want
These women are breaking gender bias in different ways, forging different paths, and living their lives as they want.
This is what the theme of this year’s IWD celebration is all about.
When it comes to the workplace, there is a lot that can be done by organizations to help break down the barriers between genders at work, including teaching employees about what constitutes sexual harassment, and creating employee networking initiatives and employee resource groups. From mentoring programs to corporate retreats, there are many ways to foster growth, create opportunities, and provide exposure for women in the workplace.
It may not be obvious to all, but gender biases and stereotypes are deeply rooted in our society, and influence the way we work — from the way we hire, to our daily relations.
Imagine a world free of bias, of stereotypes, and of prejudice.
🥂 to breaking the biases around us, and creating meaningful engagements while at it!