International Women’s Day is celebrated annually around the globe on March 8th. It is a day marked to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day is also used for a “call to action” for progressing gender parity.

The theme for this year is #BreaktheBias. It is not enough for us to be aware of the impact bias has on women’s equality; we must also be willing and prepared to challenge it!

Biases can be conscious, unconscious, or hidden. There are biases that we are aware of and that are easier to identify, and as a result, this is often where much attention is focused. There are also biases that are implicit (unconscious) which are more subliminal where certain groups of people are favored based on stereotypes. Rarely discussed or challenged are the hidden biases.

These include legislation, regulations, policies, programs, and processes that that do not work to sufficiently mitigate the bias, or even worse, reinforce and perpetuate the biasness.

It is not enough for workplaces to only provide training on biases. We must be serious about having the difficult conversations, getting to the root of the biases, and adopting a “no tolerance policy” to bias in the workplace; without this there is no way to be truly inclusive.

Workplaces must be transparent in providing an infrastructure that seeks to eradicate hidden biases by preventing actions that allow the unconscious biases to show up.

As legislatures, Government has a responsibility to ensuring that Bermuda has the legal framework necessary to protect its citizens from biases and to address the far-reaching, long-standingnegative impact that biases have had on our society.

The Bermuda Public Services Union remains committed to advancing the agenda for gender parity and combating biases and will continue to challenge inequities. Through collaboration with our community partners, the BPSU will advocate for parity and work to ensure that processes such as succession planning, hiring practices, and performance management are without bias.

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