In our daily lives, there is a lot of gender bias that plays out and goes unnoticed. In such situations, people are singled out and discriminated on the basis of their gender identity — and many people don’t even realize it. People deserve to be their authentic and true selves in social environments without any judgements. It is each person’s right to live and engage in an environment that is respectful of who they are and each person’s job to create such an environment for others.
Here are some ways to be a more inclusive and respectful in your day-to-day life.
Using gender-neutral language is one way to be more inclusive and not single out any genders. For example, terms such as ‘pals’, ‘buddies’, ‘friends’, and ‘everyone’ are good ways to refer to groups.
Recognise Your Unconscious Bias
There are certain social stereotypes that end up playing out implicitly in our behavior. Ask yourself — are you treating your male, female, and non-binary people equally? Are there any preset opinions and judgements you have on the basis of gender? Are there any assumptions that play out when you are interacting with people on the basis of gender?
Initiate Meaningful Conversations
It is always a good idea to initiate meaningful conversations. When you have recognized your unconscious bias, one way to work on it is by initiating meaningful conversations respectfully. Certain topics may be difficult to talk about, but then again, that is exactly why they need to be talked about. Brave conversations lead to a better, more interesting world.
Be a Good Listener
Before you ambush the other person with your opinions and thoughts, listen to their story. Every person deserves a non-judgemental environment where their thoughts are heard and respected. In times of disagreement, instead of being dismissive, put out your opinion in a non-imposing way and make sure the other person does not feel demeaned.
Admitting you don’t know — it’s okay to not have an opinion!
Going against the social pressure of always having a strong opinion, it is okay to admit that you don’t know! In doing so, you give yourself and others the space to learn and work on themselves.
Be a Diversity Scout
The world isn’t a perfect place but you can do your bit to make it better. In case you find someone being discriminating or derogatory, stand up and call out to that person respectfully! Tolerance is necessary but when the line is crossed, it is time to speak up. So speak up and make sure that the targeted people feel safe and respected.
Following such practices, we move one step forward to closing the gender gap and making the world a more diverse and connected place.
Tishya Khanna (Author)