Posted: 3 Min ReadDiversity & Inclusion

International Women's Day - Breaking the Bias

How can we break the bias?

This year's International Women's Day (IWD) theme was #BreaktheBias—a theme that I know myself and many other women can relate to. Even though I grew up in a female-dominant family, I often would find myself questioning if I am equally as "important" and or "capable" as males. In most of the movies I saw growing up, the male was always the hero saving the day.

So, from an early age, I found myself doing all I could to "prove" that I can do things that guys can do. It might have meant challenging the neighborhood guys in sports or doing all my yard work myself as an adult or trying to balance raising two daughters solely on my own. As a full-time working parent, I never wanted to ask for help, I wanted to be my girls' hero! However, as I got older, I realized that I did not need to do things to prove a point. I can be an important figure and capable of being my girls' hero without doing things I don't want to do, and yes, even if I have to ask for help at times!

As I began dropping this "I can do what men can do, all by myself" mentality, I shifted my mindset to ensure that I wanted all I did rather than just proving a point. It has made life so much more enjoyable. I want my daughters to grow up with that mindset too. I never want them to think they can't do something or aren't as valuable because they are female—as I believe that both men and women are valuable and can achieve anything and everything they want to with the right mindset. 

What about mindset?

This takes me onto my next topic and one that I am very passionate about, mindset. Over the last two years, more than ever, I have witnessed how important it is to have a strong mindset, to be confident, kind, and optimistic. Regardless of gender, we are all capable of so much if we believe in ourselves and uplift others around us. As a way for me to help uplift others, I decided to become a certified boxing coach, which I love. It allows me to meet so many people with different backgrounds and help them build strong bodies and, more importantly, solid mindsets to become more confident individuals. 

I am grateful to have had the fantastic opportunity to meet so many people from different backgrounds while working here at NortonLifeLock. I am constantly inspired. Over the last few weeks, in preparation for our International Women’s Day (IWD) event, I had the pleasure of working with Leyla Bilge, Madhumitha B, Sarah Uhlfelder and Pauline Siew, four strong leaders from different regions. Alongside my fellow Women Outreach and Development Resources (WONDER) Community Co-Champions, Kelly Ryan and Yoshiko Blake, we heard their stories around biases as we celebrated IWD. We had a chat about how they define a leader and encourage their teams to be inclusive and discussed if they ever felt they needed to be "one of the guys" and how they felt when they heard they "are naturally talented" or "lucky". 

Our IWD panel event confirmed for me that I am not the only one that has felt like I had to prove myself and try to be one of the boys", and it motivated me to continue to focus on all the beautiful qualities we have as women. It inspired me to continue striving to be a positive role model for my daughters and other women. How can we do it? By lifting each other up, rooting for one another and empowering ourselves to believe we can achieve anything we set our minds to. I encourage you all to do the same—together, we can continue to break the bias!

No better than, no less than!

What's next?

Lastly, although IWD has passed for this year, we are still celebrating Women's History Month for the rest of March. We have partnered with our Corporate Responsibility team to provide learning opportunities around period poverty. We will be assembling kits for persons who menstruate and raising awareness around this crucial yet taboo topic. Another event we have taking place is one where we will learn about challenges that underprivileged families face when raising kids. We want to continue the conversation about important topics all year long.

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About the Author

Valerie Villalobos

Senior Business Operations Analyst

Contributing Authors

Valerie Villalobos

Senior Business Operations Analyst

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