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Break the Bias: International Women’s Day 2022

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Girl, woman, sister, mother, aunt, niece, friend, woman. Woman. Such strength she carries. Not just the word, but she…every woman in this world that is breaking the bias.

An ideal world would be one that is free of all form of discrimination and bias; one that would be made up of inclusivity, celebrated diversity and women who are valued and appreciated. For this year’s International Women’s Day, we all need to rise against inequality and #breakthebias. 

To show our support for and efforts to break the bias, Grenville is celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day with three essays from students: Adaeze Mbonuike, Hazel Touman and Donnatella Iyayi.These young women have expressed their thoughts and perspectives on what it means to be a woman, and on what it is to break the bias.

Why not break the bias? 

Written by Adaeze Mbonuike, Year 8B

Women are humans like everyone else but we have been devilled by humongous biases. We need to break the bias like Annette Kellerman did. 

When Annette was a young girl, she always wanted to dance. Her parents were music teachers and she always watched dancers dance at her home but she couldn’t dance with the iron braces on her legs. She grew very sad until her father, Fredrick William Kellerman taught her how to swim and she swam gracefully and started winning small competitions and breaking records. Annette’s legs grew stronger due to swimming. She even invented swimming techniques that no one understood.

Annette Kellerman

Annette and her father decided to show the world Annette’s inventions and show girls what they could do in the water. They moved from Australia, where she was born, and moved to England.

When they arrived in London, they went to Soho and the Strand hoping to put on a show but everyone else looked surprised to hear about a girl swimmer but Annette didn’t care.

In 1904, she announced that she was a having a swimming session at the Five Thames which got a lot of attention because women weren’t really allowed to swim.

Annette and her father traveled to Dover to train and for the next six weeks she swam from one seaside resort to another. She swam toward France and outdistanced the other swimmers by a mile. Everyone talked about her and soon, she had performed at London’s Bath Club. After the performance, Annette was racing her way through Europe.

She was even invited to America to swim at Wonderland Park in Boston’s Revenue Beach. When she got there, she was shocked to see what the American ladies were wearing; stockings, shoes, bathing dresses, caps and other things while men and boys swam freely with normal swimsuits. Of course this didn’t stop Annette Kellerman… she swam with her one-piece swimsuit which showed her legs and unfortunately got her arrested.

She explained to her judge in 1907 that swimming was a wonderful exercise and it was hard to swim in the swimsuits that the American ladies wore. Fortunately Annette was free to go and she continued swimming in her one piece swimsuits. Later, Annette’s style of swimsuits got trendy so women copied her style and swam freely.

Women and girls have been enjoying the water ever since, all thanks to Annette Kellerman for breaking the bias. 

 If Annette Kellerman could break the bias, WE CAN too!

Break the bias – Woman empowerment!

Written by Hazel Touman, Year 10A

To be a woman, is to exist in paradox…

In a society, everyone has the right to lead his/her life accordingly without any discrimination. Every individual yearns for equal status, opportunities and rights. However, it’s a shame to see that there is a lot of discrimination between humans-especially WOMEN.

Many women are facing discrimination because of cultural differences, religion, skin color, race, geographical differences, racism, societal mindsets and majorly because of GENDER. Inequality based on gender is a concern that is prevalent in the whole world.

One of the things every woman dreams is to have equal rights as men. They want to be on the same page as the opposite gender, to have the same opportunities and entitlements that men have. Don’t they deserve it?

As a woman, it sickens me to know that we are not given the same opportunities as men, rather we are treated as puppets and are expected to be inferior to men. How can this be? When the world classifies men as superior, as stronger, as educated, or as leaders, how are we meant to regulate this situation so easily like it’s not something serious? Because it is! it is something that needs to be stopped, questioned and spoken about broadly.

When talking about gender discrimination, we must understand that it runs on every aspect, occupation, education, equal wage, freedom of speech, equal right of votes etc. -These are all they ask for! Is it too much for our society to provide?

As the now-famous quote goes: “women’s rights are human rights.”

That is to say that women are entitled to all these rights. Yet, almost everywhere around, women and girls are still denied them, simply because of something obvious-GENDER. Equal rights for women is not just about giving opportunities to any individual woman or girl; it is also about changing how countries and communities’ work. It involves changing laws and policies, winning hearts and minds and investing in strong women’s organisations and movements.

Apart from the occupational aspects of discrimination, a woman should also be allowed to make decisions herself. For instance, she should be able to decide if and when she wants to have children, get married or even get a divorce. Some cultures and religions criticise divorce and consider it a shame to their nation. This way, many women find it hard to leave their abusive marriages due to the fear of shame, stigma and the image of their reputation to their families. Although this law has been lowered in some countries, it still goes on within hidden environments.

Yes! In many countries, women have excelled and proved to be better than men in organisations, education, leadership, sports, businesses, and politics where women have become presidents, prime ministers and even queen. So how can the society say women are not powerful or strong enough to become leaders when in today’s society women are empowering men? 

Although some groups are working to ensure women can own property, vote, get paid fair wages, and live free from violence, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, there still needs to be full closure over this topic as it causes a lot of damage to the mental health development of women, making many to commit suicide-especially young adults.

Once all these menaces are eradicated, the whole world will understand the value of a woman and will achieve gender equality in a real sense. Women are creating examples everywhere and we all should highlight them to change the scenario and give them equal rights. With so much potential, it is only a matter of time before women will overtake men and have all their abilities on display for the world to see!

Break the Bias

Written by Donnatella Iyayi, Year 10A

Gender discrimination/bias is when there are unfair rights between male and female. It differs because of their gender roles which ultimately leads to unequal treatment in life.

Gender discrimination has been around for many centuries. As far back as biblical times, the issue of gender bias has always been prevalent in our society. This is an issue that is not only common in Africa, but also in the western world.

The truth is that, the western world, in more ways than one, has tried to create a society that is more inclusive whereby women are not stereotyped.

In the 21st century, we have found women in the Western world taking up the highest positions of power. However, this is not to say that gender bias is still not in existence.

In Africa, this is an ongoing issue; gender bias has its roots in our culture and upbringing. Our society has provided roles to all genders especially the girl child. However, as we are evolving, it is time to do away with such notions of gender roles.

Causes of Gender Bias

There are many causes of gender discrimination or bias. The first one is illiteracy, which exists when people do not educate themselves, they continue to live in the old times. Thus, they follow the old age sexist traditions and norms. Education can bring about a change in this mindset because educated people will less likely partake in gender discrimination or bias.

Another reason is poverty, which is interlinked with education in a way. It is the root cause in many places especially in our society because the economic dependence is mostly on the male counterparts. Thus, women suffer a lot from it because of the same reason. They never get out of this and stay financially dependent on men.

Furthermore, the patriarchal system in society also contributes to gender bias. The male dominates almost every aspect of life and considers himself the superior gender. This way, violence and injustice may rise, and it becomes difficult for everyone to avail equal opportunities.

Gender discrimination has impacted our society deeply as a whole. It does not just impact a specific section of the society but every part of it. First of all, it impacts the workplace because there is a gender pay gap that exists amongst the working class. Men earn more for doing the same work as women. In addition, women have to start a family and are still expected to work with less pay.

Furthermore, women are also less appreciated in society due to their traditional roles in the homes. In certain traditional societies in Africa, females working is frowned upon and is seen as neglecting the family, hence, the females are expected to do domestic work. In some cases, the women or girls are not allowed to further their education or even have an education.

Consequently, a woman’s value is largely dictated by the society, culture and history. Nevertheless, to state that her place is in the home is widely considered sexist in modern societies.

To conclude, differences do certainly exist, however, these are largely through NATURE and should not be dictated by factors such as religion or society but by our ability as equals as the notion goes:

“Whatever a man can do a woman can do better.”

And there we have it…brilliantly communicated by young women who are eager to break the bias and make everyone else understand why there’s a need to celebrate women. Join us in breaking the bias and don’t forget to wish every woman around you an amazing #InternationalWomen’sDay’22 🌷

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