IWD Reframing The Way We See Bias

International Women’s Day

Reframing the way we see bias

IWD #BreakTheBias



With the global theme of this year’s International Women’s Day being ‘Breaking the Bias’, we asked a number of our Flight Centre Business Travel team members what gender equality means to them.

Starting a conversation to change stereotypes

For FCBT National Operations Leader, Candice Marsh, breaking the bias is all about ensuring equal opportunity for both women and men.

National Operations Leader Candice Marsh

“We are all human, we all deserve respect, we all deserve to be heard and all deserve to be understood, regardless of what gender we are or where we come from. I think we can break the bias by making it part of our daily conversations and continually educating men, women, young and old that bias, stereotypes and discrimination are not acceptable under any circumstance.

To do this we need to have the support of our workplace, each other and community in driving this message because only as one can we truly #breakthebias”

Now is the time to take action to break the bias

All around him, National Brand Leader Cameron Harris sees the importance of women of all ages having the opportunity and support to pursue their goals.

National Brand Leader Cameron Harris

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many positive examples –

I have a 7-year-old daughter who is passionate about playing in a mixed soccer team, where she sees no limitations or bias. Also my mother took ownership of her future and career at a later stage in life and showed her sons what an independent woman can achieve. And my wife is the perfect role model who combines family, parenting and career – with the support of her workplace and an awareness by me that my career is no more important than hers and my role in the family isn’t any less either.

I also have an amazing leadership team made up of the best person for each role – irrespective of gender, race or ethnicity. Leaders that have shown me to lead by example, to foster positive environments and to give everyone the opportunity to succeed. Because Breaking the Bias can be done. It is up to all of us to play our part.”

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The importance of challenging assumptions

For Travel Manager, Mel Hawkins, it is vital to break the cycle by questioning our own thoughts and assumptions.

Travel Manager Mel Hawkins

“To me #breakingthebias is setting up a future, and world for our children and generations to come, where we approach every situation with an open mind. Teaching them that creating assumptions and bias around gender has a huge impact on us all moving forward. Breaking the bias is about being mindful of our own choices, whether that bias is impacting home life, work, friendship circles or any individual situation.

We all need to lead by example and to speak up for those that can't speak for themselves.”

It’s our differences that make communities stronger

This IWD, and every day moving forward, Ned Brennan from Implementations & Technology, is committed to doing his part to ensure we #breakthebias and make tomorrow better than it is today. 

Implementations & Technology Ned Brennan

“To paraphrase a famous line from history, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of bias, is for everyone to stay silent." Bias can be troublesome because it is often unnoticed and unintentional, but when bias is illuminated, it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Bias can be hard to notice at first, but through practice it becomes easier to see it in our day-to-day lives.

Each of us needs to do our best to shine a light on bias and ensure it has nowhere to hide in our society. Differences in gender, background and thoughts should not be avoided, but embraced, because although they can be challenging they also create diversity and strength.”

Changing vocabulary and changing minds

For Assistant Manager, Stephen Smith, even the smallest of changes can have a massive impact on how women are treated and perceived in the workplace.

Assistant Manager Stephen Smith

“For me #breakthebias means changing daily habits and thought patterns that have been so instilled in our minds, that altogether they make a big impact. I made a conscious decision around seven years ago to stop the habit of calling women ‘girls’. When speaking to a friend, I might previously have said, “This girl that I work with..." It's essentially about not continuing the gender bias, as you would rarely say, "Oh, this boy that I work with".

So now I make the conscious effort to always refer to women, as women. This has also led me to call it out among friends and colleagues whenever they refer to a woman as a girl. That's how I am continuing to #breakthebias”

Challenging bias in male dominated sectors

Commercial Analyst, Rhiana Stickings, shares her passion about breaking the gender bias, especially in the finance field.

Commercial Analyst Rhiana Stickings

“I’m passionate about this year’s #breakthebias theme as I have worked in finance for almost 15 years - a sector where men severely outnumber women. Although I’ve always had great relationships with my peers, I’ve always felt like an outsider particularly when it comes to the social relationships male peers form. I think this often leads to men getting more career opportunities, because they are simply more front of mind with male leaders - not necessarily because they are better at their job.

A report published by McKinsey found - companies experience an increase of 47% in average return on equity when they employ female executives and they experience a 55% increase in average earnings before taxes when there are female executives in top management positions! I feel very privileged to work for a company that embraces women in the workplace, and in leadership roles, and also encourages them to progress. I know I have a voice at FCTG and that’s not something all women can say.”

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