#BreakTheBias – International Women’s Day 2022

Olive Jones, 08 March 2022

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global event that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s campaign #BreakTheBias highlights the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world.

IWD is important to me because it celebrates and recognises the achievements of women from a range of backgrounds, across the world with very different experiences. It’s also a great opportunity to raise awareness of the gender inequalities that still exist throughout society.


Breaking the bias towards women should be easy, and I sometimes wonder why it’s still a major issue that can’t be tackled. 

As a woman, I experience subtle and overt forms of bias which I find immensely annoying. This includes comments such as, “I’ll do……”, “I take that to mean” “you’re a woman and couldn’t possibly have the knowledge or experience to do that.”

It’s much easier to challenge overt bias and my pledge for IWD 2022 is to start calling out more subtle forms of bias. Whether unconscious or not, gender bias is something that many women face on a regular basis. It’s no longer good enough just to recognise bias – it’s something we all need to actively challenge when we see it happening.

We must continue to explore the daily challenges still faced by women in the workplace and society and discuss how we can change perceptions and move the conversation forward to create positive change.

My journey

My personal journey has been interesting from forging a career in the male dominated world of banking, which ultimately led to a career in HR and organisational development and earning a leadership team role at the NHF as a Director of People. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people who have guided and coached me. I know I would not have progressed in my career if they had not supported me.

The value of gender diversity particularly in the workplace is widely acknowledged. Women bring different perspectives and approaches to business, resulting in a more inclusive workplace and often better performance for businesses.

It’s important employers support women in the workplace by maintaining a deep and continuous focus on equality, diversity and inclusion all year round. This includes implementing progressive policies, practices, benefits, and support mechanisms so women's careers can thrive.

The only way to address and overcome bias and barriers is to have more women in positions of leadership helping to provide further support and create role models, women need to advance in their careers bringing about much-needed changes in the workplace.

Finding a good balance of men and women in leadership roles is crucial as it results in better outcomes for the organisation. There has been great progress in terms of women taking up leadership positions, although, in some industries such as engineering, banking and politics, men still dominate.

Role models

IWD is always a great time to not only honour and celebrate those women who came before us, but also those who continue to inspire us on our life journey.

When I think about an inspirational female role model in my career and the type of leader I would like to be, I think about Gabby Machell, Chief Executive of London Disability Network (LDN). I previously worked with Gabby at LDN and found her to be an inspirational leader because she is passionate about her work and really values the contributions of others with over 30 years of management and leadership experience.

For #IWD2022 take some time out to think about female role models in your life who make a positive difference and help inspire you.

This year let’s come together to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality. Happy International Women’s Day.