Bias - through a woman's eye

Bias - through a woman's eye

Smrithi Dewan
4th Mar, 2022

The moment we are born, we are tagged. We are tagged with our gender, skin color, birthplace, caste, religion, sexuality, and whatnot. Unfortunately, with these tags come biases. We are engineered from day one by everyone around us to think, feel, and behave in a certain way. As a result, we create a prejudice that affects our decision-making. Ideally, this is meant to help us differentiate between good and evil, but often we end up with stereotypical attitudes, and as a result, we end up viewing the world through this ‘bias lens.’ 

I was fortunate to be born and brought up in a forward-looking family that encouraged education to the best extent possible. I never had any pressure to be the topper of the class, nor was I entitled to assume a specific path for the sake of it. Instead, I did make my own decisions, right from choosing my profession to selecting a partner for life. 

However, even these privileges had boundaries defined, where I was expected to fit into the mold of an ideal woman - behave like a ‘good woman,’ look like a ‘good woman,’ even think like one, to ultimately fit into the society. I was constantly reminded how a woman should conduct herself, and I was OK with that for so long because I was conditioned to BELIEVE in it. I thought that all the good things I have in my life were handed over to me as favors and not because I deserved them. I couldn’t comprehend that it was my right to follow my dream, choose financial independence, and have a voice of my own. But now, I do!

The most dangerous pitfall of these ‘unconscious biases’ is when we become prey to our own prejudices, and if you are a woman, then life gets twice more challenging. We stop ourselves from reaching out to the stars because we end up viewing ourselves with this ‘bias lens’ and finally start believing that we are supposed to be “this” and not “that”. 

I have often noticed many talented women losing opportunities to become part of critical projects or get into leadership roles or be part of something they are really passionate about because they are afraid to commit. They are scared that their passion or dream will come in the way of their so-called duties and responsibilities as a woman, and women who put themselves first are always frowned upon. 

Most of us women spend our whole life proving our love and commitment, but still, sometimes that too falls short. Sadly but often, the depth of love is measured based on the sacrifices we have made. Do you realize what is worse than that? It is when we women normalize these biases. We convince ourselves that this is just normal, and as time passes, we slowly kill all our desires and dreams just to wake up one day to realize that life has passed us by. 

It’s high time we all realize that if our action falls under the line of humanity and we see a purpose and fulfillment in them, it is alright to put ourselves first once in a while because when we are happy and contented in our lives, we will be inclined to make others happy. 

At every turn in our life, we will be overwhelmed with choices, and that’s when we need to prioritize and set expectations; you need to analyze and prioritize the opportunity, be it motherhood, your career, or your relationship. Setting expectations with your near and dear is also very important. If you would prefer being a good homemaker rather than a successful entrepreneur – stick to it and give your full best towards it, do not let anyone else judge you. If you would like to concentrate on your career for some time, do that, set the expectations with your family, and get a support system- that can be your spouse or your parents, or your help. As said, life is all about juggling; what to juggle and when to is your choice. 

We all have so little time in this beautiful world, so find your purpose and build your life around them. But, don’t wait for fate to get you a platter of a happy and successful life because, in the end, it is YOU who should own your success and failure.

This year’s women’s day is around the corner with the theme ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. Keeping the essence of the theme, let us pledge to keep all kinds of biases and judgments at bay and give all women, including yourself, a chance to prove that we are worthy of better things in our lives and are ready to work for it. Don’t let the tags decide anyone’s journey, but let talent and hard work do that. So let us own our journey and do it like a boss!

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