It's About Time We Break The Bias
Written by Shaniqua Benjamin
I love being a woman – except for the whole period thing. I love that we have the opportunity to celebrate women all around the world in March with a designated day, which also extends through the month. Shining a light on all the badass, brilliant boss women is great for inspiration and increasing awareness of the amazing things they do, but it’s also sad that a specific day has to be set aside to ensure it happens. Women are doing phenomenal things all year round and should be celebrated accordingly. As this year’s theme said, it’s time to break the bias.
I love being a black woman – except for the double bias, discrimination and invisibility. My race and gender are always going to intersect, because they are both part of my identity, therefore playing an integral part in my journey. It’s only in recent years that I’ve fully realised how much not seeing – or being made aware of – black women poets while growing up affected me. If I’d read poems by Jean Binta Breeze, Malika Booker or Nikki Giovanni at school, maybe I would have fallen in love with poetry earlier and my whole career trajectory would have changed. However, poetry in the curriculum was – and still is – dominated by middle-aged/older, upper/middle-class white men from particular eras. It’s definitely time to break that bias.
I love seeing women thrive and having a community of thriving women around me, who feed into and champion me as I move forward – I wouldn’t be where I am without them. It was a joy to be surrounded by brilliant thriving women on International Women’s Day this year at Stanley Arts, hearing their voices and seeing their entrepreneurial spirit. I think we all left inspired and the support of women by women in the room is what should be seen throughout the year and beyond, especially as we continue to work towards a gender-equal world. It’s only by us all supporting and working together – men and women – that we can truly break the bias.
'Women are doing phenomenal things all year round and should be celebrated accordingly. As this year’s theme said, it’s time to break the bias.'