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What does #BreakTheBias mean to you this International Women’s Day?

Tuesday 8th March

What does #BreakTheBias mean to you this International Women’s Day?

This International Women’s Day, Arctic Shores hosted a virtual roundtable with women from Arctic Shores leadership and STEM subjects for all Explorers on the subject of #BreakTheBias. 

Breaking down bias is at the core of what we do at Arctic Shores, and IWD is a brilliant opportunity to come together as a team and explore what bias means to women across the company. 

What does #BreakTheBias mean to you? 

Despite the panellists expressing gratitude and positivity about their experiences at Arctic Shores, they discussed past and present feelings of facing bias at work, at home, or within their individual communities. 

Fiadhna McEvoy, Head of Psychometric Outputs at Arctic Shores, kicked off the session with the concept that the ‘revolution begins at home’. She explored the tensions between motherhood and career, as well as explaining the benefits of encouraging an open dialogue about work, so that her family can understand both her career and role as a mother. Claire Jaques, Chief Product Officer at Arctic Shores, agreed that letting go of perceived judgement from her family and community, as well as emotional guilt and self doubt are all part of breaking the bias. 

Equally, Jill Summers, Director of Professional Services & Support, suggested that breaking the bias is about creating a world free of discrimination, where everyone is viewed through the same lens and gender and age aren’t defining. Chief Customer Officer, Estelle McCartney, encouraged us to ‘lean out’ of the expectations that come with traditional gender roles at home and to challenge the imbalance of roles between partners. 

To forge equality, Carly Forham, our Chief Revenue Officer, suggested that we welcome objections and discourse to challenge bias and break down barriers. While Chief Marketing Officer, Rachel Dennis, defined breaking the bias as choosing to be brave not only when it comes to defining our own path in life, but to ensure our actions don’t perpetuate limiting structures for others.

Tackling imposter syndrome  

Ever felt like you’re not good enough? Think that you’re ‘faking it’ and very soon you’ll be ‘found out’? Imposter syndrome is something that many of us experience, sometimes without even realising it. 

Carly Fordham explained that imposter syndrome is an inherently female trait and not necessarily a ‘syndrome’, or medical label. Instead, it’s a reaction to societal structures, which as Arctic Shores Customer Success Manager, Jen Voyle, explores in a recent blog, is exacerbated by workplace design and bias

In order to help beat self-doubt and associated anxiety, Fiadhna McEvoy suggested, assessing and unpicking limiting beliefs to stop fueling the cycle of critical reflection. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help provide insight and practical actions to address negative beliefs, including positive visualisation techniques. 

The panel discussed taking up space as a means to overcome feelings of self-doubt which led to a lively discussion about Wonder Woman and Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on power poses. 

Breaking the bias every day

The panel all agreed that using your voice, either asking for help or sharing experiences to aid understanding is a good starting point to help beat bias. 

Tsvetelina Genkova, Senior Developer at Python, reflected on the fact that it’s often easy to be defensive when someone criticises your choices. To combat this, Claire Jaques, Chief Product Officer at Arctic Shores suggested that we all unburden ourselves from the expectations that others have of us and become courageous explorers at work and in our lives at home too. 

The panel wrapped up with some final thoughts on reflections on what we can and should do to break the bias: 

  • Take other women with you, lift them up, encourage them
  • Back yourself, believe in yourself
  • Write down motivational quotes and leave them in visible places around the house
  • Write a list of all your achievements, build up your experience bank, reference it often
  • Build your tribe and community, ask for help and help others
  • Lead political action, email your MP, protest – use your voice and your vote to break down limiting structures around you. 

Finally Estelle McCartney encouraged us to all embody the change that we want to see.

To get involved with IWD 2022, tell us what #BreakTheBias means to you using the hashtag #ArcticShoresIWD.

A note on the intersectionality of experiences: 

The panel acknowledges that intersectionality plays a crucial role in contextualising women’s experiences of the world through the multiple lenses of race, class, ethnicity, culture, disabilities, gender identity, sexuality and other identities. 

We recognise that not all of those lenses were represented in the panel, and our panellists can only represent their own experiences. 

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