I contributed to a few different initiatives for International Women’s Day and as I’ve shared my perspective on the theme of #breakthebias I’ve consistently found the same message coming through.
- We seek out people who are like us so that we fit in and feel safe and secure.
- We find it easier to connect with people who have similar experiences to us because it gives us common ground to start from.
- We use our past experiences to filter and interpret the world, which reinforces stereotypes without us realising it.
As individuals, this helps us to find other people who most easily understand us and our needs, and can help us survive in the wild, but when we’re in survival mode it also means that we tend to exclude people that we don’t connect with or who we feel are different.
- first we need to recognise that we all have this inherent bias, and understand that this is nothing to be ashamed of
- as we discover our own biases, we need to give ourselves the space to get curious about it. It can feel scary to discover that there’s a completely different way of seeing things in the world, but it’s only through asking the “stupid questions” that we get to explore and understand the different perspectives.
- as we discover these new worlds we need to stay open to hear about and honour other people’s experiences, beliefs and ideas without feeling threatened by them.
- Is there a group of people that you dismiss or feel uncomfortable with who see the world differently to you?
- What could you do to find out a bit more about their world and why they believe what they do?
- How could you start a conversation?
The first step is to start recognising and noticing where your bias exists, and being brave enough to admit it.
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