With International Women’s Day 2021 coming up on Monday, this year’s theme, 'choose to challenge is timely, considering how women have largely shouldered the burdens that the global pandemic has piled on over the past year. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge. But the best part about any change is that it can begin with one person at a time and that one person can be you.
To expand your cross-cultural awareness, reach out to people outside your circle and engage with them on a personal level. When you belong to a privileged or powerful group, you do not need to draw attention to yourself as a specific entity because you have status. What’s more, others perceive you as the standard versus an outlier.
We must acknowledge that despite our best intentions, we can all be biased — what is important is how we self-scrutinize our prejudices on an ongoing basis. You can ask yourself about what you are not aware of yourself.
Most of us mature with gender rules and stereotypes fully entrenched in our psyches, and although this may be unconscious, this profoundly impacts our habits, assumptions, and beliefs about how we work, interact, and socialize. To counter this, avoid making assumptions about habits, preferences, choices, and aptitude based solely on gender.
Tollywood Actress Samantha had taken up this challenge and also asks her followers to choose their challenge. ‘Its time we know where we stand, know our worth and never settle for less than what we deserve. This International Women’s Day, I challenge you to believe in myself more and I urge you to do the same. Empowerment starts with you. Change starts with you! I Choose To Challenge and change. What about you?’ she tweeted.
These are not just issues that women must speak up about, but men as well. Men are our most valuable allies in these fights against discrimination, and we must all challenge the systems that not only hold women back but also hold men firmly in place. Only by working together to challenge the status quo will we be able to achieve any sort of equality before another two centuries have passed us by.