3 International Women’s Day Myths Debunked

#1 Gender diversity is not an issue, as my female friends claim they are not discriminated against.

Many women are fortunate in that they have not faced discrimination; however, this is not the case for all. Men and women are both victims and perpetrators of gender discrimination.

Unconscious bias exists in everyone. Some women who have not consciously experienced gender discrimination may be unaware of their biases.

International Women's Day provides an opportunity to recognise and support the challenges that all women face. This includes the lived experiences of women of various ethnic backgrounds, women with disabilities, and queer or trans women, whose difficulties may be exacerbated by other aspects of their identity.

#2 The gender pay gap exists solely because women lack the confidence to request raises and promotions.

According to new research, Australian women request pay increases just as frequently as men, but they are less likely to receive them. If a man inquires, he is perceived as an ambitious go-getter. When a woman inquires, she is perceived as pushy and demanding.

This is one of many factors contributing to the gender pay gap, which is also exacerbated by men and women working in different industries and jobs, a lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caregiving, particularly in senior positions, and women's disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work.

#3 With the pandemic and the resulting economic hardship, shouldn't we be concentrating on more pressing issues?

Lean In (a gender advocacy group co-founded by Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg) and McKinsey & Company (a global consultancy) discovered in their recent "Women in the Workplace" report that one in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to the impact of COVID-19.

With schools and childcare closed, mothers are three times more likely than fathers to be in charge of the majority of housework and childcare during COVID-19, when both parents work full-time. "We'd be hitting hit if we had a panic button," says Rachel Thomas, CEO of Lean In. The pandemic is forcing businesses to be more agile and adapt their strategies more quickly.

During these times, giving up on the brainpower and diversity of thought of half of the population is not an option. Indeed, investing in diversity and inclusion during this crisis could be one of the keys to emerging stronger.

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