Gender equality is an issue that has recently, thankfully, started to pick up some traction. With high profile concerns surrounding the gender pay gap and the #MeToo movement, people are starting to listen and understand that these are big wrongs that need to be right; and can’t be corrected until we all work together.
So, what are the small steps we can take to achieve gender equality?
The first thing that everyone can strive to do is believe in yourself. Don’t accept the incorrect notion of being somehow less just because you’re a girl. Once you’ve mastered that, believe in each other. Women are stronger when they support one another. If we lead by example and continue to give other women opportunities where they perhaps wouldn’t have been, then we’ll reach equality quicker. This can be in any situation from small to large; it could be making sure everyone has equal say or speaking time for a college project or presentation or asking for that pay rise when you know you deserve it.
Never be afraid to stand up for yourself; so many times I’ve experienced sexism in the workplace and laughed it off in fear of being impolite. But there is a way to correct somebody politely; I’m sure we’ve all been corrected impolitely before. Somebody once offered my female engineering friend a pink hard hat, and all the men with her, a white one. Her male colleague intervened and insisted they give her a white one. It will take everyone to reset old standards and assumptions to achieve gender equality.
I was once in America and starting talking passionately about campaigns for women’s rights in the UK, and they scoffed at me, suggesting that I wasn’t oppressed enough to complain. So the third action is to be loud and active – don’t be afraid to talk about important issues. The more comfortable we feel talking about gender equality, the more it will become a reality.
This article was written by Olivia Roberts, an Energy Engineer for Verco.