This week’s podcast features a former guest Laura Bates, who is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 200,000 testimonies of gender inequality, with branches in 25 countries worldwide.
Laura writes regularly for the Guardian, Telegraph and the New York Times amongst others and won a British Press Award for her journalism in 2015. She has written numerous books, and her latest Fix The System Not The Women is near and dear to our hearts with its message.
When it comes to gender inequality, most people can agree that we need to tackle obvious forms of discrimination, like sexual harassment and sexual assault. But this agreement doesn’t always extend to covert forms of discrimination, like consistently devaluing women’s contributions in a team meeting, or only asking women on a team to take notes. But we have to appreciate the interrelationship between different forms of sexism and discriminatory systems. As Laura put it in a piece for the Guardian “It is vital to resist those who mock and criticize us for tackling “minor” manifestations of prejudice, because these are the things that normalize and ingrain the treatment of women as second-class citizens, opening the door for everything else, from workplace discrimination to sexual violence.” If we are going to solve inequality, we have to address the various ways that it shows up, at work and the workplace is a really important part of this equation.
Discussions like today’s can feel overwhelming but there is always something we can do to effect positive change. Yes gender inequality is a systemic issue, but it’s created through the beliefs, behaviors and interactions we each engage in, which means we have the power, collectively, to dismantle it. Laura shared some important actions we can all do more of.
Action One: Raise our voices and demand the system needs to change. Too often inequality is taken for granted as the way things are, but when we question this and call it out we raise awareness of what needs to change.
Action Two: Lend your voices to support active change, place your signature on that campaign. For example, Laura shared that the Center for Women’s Justice is running a campaign where they are pushing for a statutory inquiry into misogyny within policing. So that’s something that all of us can support and lend our voices to, our signatures to that petition.
Action Three: Stop blaming others within the workplace and focusing on individuals when things happen, to dismantle inequality we all need to take small consistent acts each and every day.