It’s 2021. I’m scrolling through my social media feed, and chance upon a Government ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ advert.
‘Nothing to see here’ I think to myself and am about to scroll on by, however I then notice that this ad has been reposted by someone, who is complaining about the content. It becomes apparent that the ad has already been pulled by the Government, due to a massively high volume of complaints.
On closer inspection, it becomes blazingly obvious that this ad should never have been created let alone signed off. It’s a graphic which depicts four homes during lockdown, each of them with a different interior scenario, all of which are like something straight out the 1950’s: woman doing housework with daughter; woman homeschooling kids; woman with baby; etc etc. The only image of a male is where he is reclining on the sofa with his arm around a woman and small child.
This. In 2021. Not only did this emerge as an idea from someones brain, but it actually got approved. Probably by more than one person.
It’s hard to think that this can happen in an age where women (in some countries) have equal rights and generally believe we are progressing in leaps and bounds with regards to gender equality.
And there is part of the problem. Many of us think that we have made it, we have equal rights, we have laws protecting us from discrimination and so things are just tickety-boo on the gender equality front. We read headlines of ‘Global corporate appoints first ever female CEO’ and we celebrate (quite rightly) this progress that we are making. However, the media headlines and the ever increasing awareness around the importance of equality, maybe makes us feel more inclined to rest on our laurels, and less motivated to keep the feminist conversation going.
Celebrating the success of one woman being appointed CEO, sadly detracts from the reality that women make up only 5% of FTSE 100 and 2% of FTSE 250 CEO’s. Believing that we are protected by the Equal Pay Act, we aren’t even aware that around 30,000 equal pay complaints are received by employment tribunals each year in England. There are indeed endless statistics that I could gather, which would show that we really, really need to keep the pressure on.
The nemesis of a battle against any form of stereotyping or discrimination is unconscious bias. Beliefs so deeply ingrained that we aren’t even aware we have them. Manifesting from our personal experiences, we act them out completely innocently, blind to the fact that we are behaving unjustly. A great example of this is The Scientist Test. You simply ask a class of schoolchildren to draw a scientist, and then be amazed at what happens. Yep, you guessed it, most of them draw men. In fact, in the USA, 55% of girls and 95% of boys draw men. (God bless that five percent.)
However, as much as I love sharing a moany old feminist statistic, we need to take action in positive and possibly more subtle ways. As a woman, I feel it is my absolute duty to do what I can to help the younger generation have a much more gender equal approach when it comes to drawing scientists or even CEO’s. As the old saying goes, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, so women need to get visible.
The world needs to see not only more women scientists, but women bankers, women engineers, women in tech, women politicians, women leading in absolutely any industry and talking passionately, knowledgeably, confidently and inspirationally about whatever it is that they do. We need to inspire not only children, but also young women who are taking their first steps in their career path, and need to see the possibilities that lie ahead of them. And maybe even the women who have a little more life experience, who need that nudge to go for that promotion, go back to university or do whatever the hell it is they want to do.
We are living in an age where there is nothing to stop us. The internet gives us the perfect, accessible to all platform where we can, if we wish, show up to the world and share our knowledge, our passion and our experiences. Using video enables us to do this, by being seen and heard in the most authentic, unconscious bias bashing kind of way.
And that is where Visible Impact comes in. We are focused on using video to get professional women seen and heard, so that they can create impact and inspire others. We want to fill the internet with the faces and voices of ambitious women, who are in the driving seat of their career, whether they work for themselves or someone else. We need to get you visible, we need to get you and your story heard, so your passion and energy can be the motivation that another girl or woman needs. So that one day, when a class of children is asked to think of a scientist, or an engineer, or a CEO, or a doctor, or a tech entrepreneur, or anything else, half of them might think of a woman.
We are here to help you be seen, be heard and be you. Let’s inspire.