This year's International Women's Day is approaching, and the theme is #BreakTheBias. I can't help but reflect on the various biases I've encountered as a woman, a person of colour, and, well, short. On the other hand, after witnessing the support of being surrounded by individuals (particularly males) who have the ability to adapt and inspire myself and other women to the future towards equality and boost this cause, I can't help but feel hopeful.
So what do I mean by bias? It can be anything from:
- A man that never accepts a female boss or leader ‘Because she is a woman’.
- Undervaluing an individual because of their age or uniqueness
- Disregarding any advice, comments or opinions from particular ethnic groups
- Always assuming that because someone was originally from a particular country or region that they will behave in a particular way and hold certain characteristics that are based off of all individuals not culture
- Assuming a lesser role with the idea that an individual is deemed incapable before even giving a fair chance
Prior to MANNA, I worked in a number of kitchens where the egotistical male executive chef assumed my height and gender were a handicap. Bias, on the other hand, is not limited to the kitchen; I've been teased for being too small or, on the other hand, too big based on stereotypes of what an Asian woman should look like. I've had tasks taken away from me because they decided that I wasn't capable. I've been insulted by individuals who assumed I wasn't good enough, that I wasn't a company owner, or that I'd never be able to flourish as a woman on my own.
On the other side, I've worked with male chefs who recognise and acknowledge that a dish curated by a female chef is often superior in terms of elegance and precision. I am mentored by a man who has a different perspective on business and, if anything, has a stronger appreciation for women in business than our counterpart. I now have a strong team of men behind me, men who can appreciate who I'm becoming and understand my new job as a leader, flaws and all. Individuals who recognise that equality should take precedence above pride, egoism, and the things of the past.
At MANNA, we're currently working together to deliver you tasty, healthy plant-based meals across Vancouver, and everyone's feedback is valued. We have an equal level of diversity, and I am appreciative for each person's individuality and how they contribute to our daily grind via plant curiosity, with respect at the forefront of every encounter made with one another and others.
On International Women's Day, as well as every day, I aim to fight for myself, other women in my community, and our unbounded future. I may not have pursued the opportunity to be supported by strong individuals who have helped establish our Vancouver plant-based ready-to-eat meal delivery company if I had not attempted to break the bias in my own life.
I encourage others to go outside the box and advocate for the women in their life who are making a difference for a better tomorrow; as the movement grows, may our minds and hearts be open, breaking the bias.