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International Women’s Day at Access Health & Community

Imagine living in a gender equal world free from bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

This International Women’s Day’s (IWD) theme is #BreakTheBias. AccessHC is joining people around the world to help forge women’s equality and work towards creating a world in which difference is valued and appreciated. 

AccessHC staff members are proud to stand and ‘strike the IWD #breakthebias’ pose to show solidarity with the rest of the world. 

Read on to find out what breaking the bias means to some of our team.

Anna Robinson, CEO Access Health & Community (she/her)

What does #BreakTheBias mean to you?

To me, #BreakTheBias means a world in which no assumptions are made about any of us regardless of our gender.

In a gender equal world, work would be fairer and more equitable.

We would not be limited by our gender.

How do you #BreakTheBias in your work or personal life? 

This is something I try to do, all the time and in many ways.

I refuse to conform to the different standards women are sometimes held to and always aim to confront bias when I see it in action. This often gets me thinking about my own unconscious biases towards gender (we all have them) and I shift my thought process to being a more equitable one.

I’m a proud aunty to my nieces and nephews. As an aunty and role model in their lives I don’t reinforce stereotypes. For example, I don’t buy gendered toys and clothes and I tell my nieces they are smart and brave – not just cute and nice.

How do you think your actions can make a difference to your colleagues, clients, community members, friends, family or society in general? 

By taking these actions – breaking biases, stereotypes and leading by example. I strive to help everyone to fulfil their greatest potential.

Ria, Youth Advocacy Group (YAG) at headspace (she/her)

What does #BreakTheBias mean to you?

As humans, we unintentionally judge people, places and situations. This can sometimes be beneficial but it is often a close-minded approach to life.

Take Marie Curie as an example. Marie was rejected from Krakow University in Poland in 1894 simply because she was female. However, she went on to win several awards and was recognised for her contribution to the advancement of chemistry by discovering radium and polonium.

Another example is Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan who survived an assassination attempt in 2012 simply because she advocated for women’s educational rights. Malala continues to fight for the right for all girls to receive 12 years of free, safe and quality education.

I find it mind-boggling that gender is still a factor in judging a person’s skills, calibre and limits.

Breaking the bias means stopping this cycle. It should not be necessary for any one gender to prove their worthiness over another.

How do you #BreakTheBias in your work or personal life?

When I am describing a person I ensure that I refer to the true depth of that person’s character rather than the way they look. This might include their talents, successes and lovable quirks.

I respect and appreciate differences so that others don’t feel that they must adopt certain behaviours to be liked or accepted by me.

How do you think your actions can make a difference to your colleagues, clients, community members, friends, family or society in general?

I hope that my ability to reflect, sustain an open mindset and respect people, regardless of their gender or choices, is noticeable and encourages my peers to treat everyone with respect and equality.

I hope that if I was acting with any kind of bias towards others I would be called out. I also hope that my open-mindedness and non-judgmental approach reflects on others and contributes towards the greater good of society.

Niki Hantzis, Senior Dental Manager (she/her)

What does #BreakTheBias mean to you?

Treating everyone with respect and equality, and challenging gender stereotypes. Also creating opportunity for growth whether it be on a personal or professional level.

How do you #BreakTheBias in your work or personal life?

I believe it’s a mindset of inner strength and self-worth. I challenge perceptions and educate those I feel may need a little nudge.

How do you think your actions can make a difference to your colleagues, clients, community members, friends, family or society in general?

‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’ Mother Teresa

This quote from Mother Teresa really resonates with me. If we all cast that stone, the ripples could become waves that wash many of the biases away.

It saddens me to see racism in all its forms between cultures, especially gender bias within cultures.

Valuing all people is an essential part of me. I enjoy learning about different customs, rituals and cultures and encourage others to ask questions, learn, to be non-judgmental and supportive.

It’s about empowerment and strength to challenge and change gender bias.

Dr Jenny Shao, General Practitioner

How do you #BreakTheBias in your work or personal life?

In the work I do at AccessHC and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, I work to #BreakTheBias through fighting against family violence that affects women and children, and encouraging women to be independent. I want their voices to be heard and seen. I also support them to access resources to better their lives.

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