International Women’s Day – Sophie Talbot, NCTJ

"Could it not be argued that bias comes about from not only how women are viewed by society but how we view ourselves?"

To mark International Women’s Day, we hear from some of the women who have recently taken up new roles at the NCTJ. Sophie Talbot, finance officer and administrator, shares her thoughts on gender bias and what IWD means to her.

As I sit to write something for IWD 2022 I realise it is late, I have yet to resurrect the kitchen from the devastation of feeding time hours earlier and the latest load of washing languishes in the washing machine awaiting my rescue. What have I been doing? Well there was homework to be done (not mine obviously but still I seemed to do the majority of it), ordering last minute seven-year-old birthday party supplies for the weekend, reassuring my mother her aches and pains will be better tomorrow, recovering the dog from chasing the neighbour’s cat (and reassuring said neighbour my dog’s intentions were definitely only playful) all the while organising a charity drop off of basic medical supplies, and toiletries at my house among all the local yummy mummies I could contact to contribute to the latest humanitarian crisis the world finds itself in.

So, I have to wonder – have we moved on from the basics and broken any bias at all? As women, we are still the primary caregivers of our children and the elderly and yet in this modern world, as women, we are educated and encouraged to believe we can ‘have it all, do it all and be it all’.

There can be no doubt that as women we do face bias from the moment we wake until we eventually crawl into bed, but are we not also somewhat complicit in that bias by shouldering the burdens of the world? Could it not be argued that bias comes about from not only how women are viewed by society but how we view ourselves?

So, as we strive to emancipate ourselves within society as well as in our own minds, I would encourage us all to celebrate our own personal progress and recognise that while we are all on our own journeys, we do need to stop every so often to recognise how far we have come, both as individuals and as a gender.

International Women’s Day offers a platform and opportunity for women everywhere to celebrate individual personal triumphs as well as global achievements, and while my small personal journey of returning to work as my children continue to grow required a leap of courage from me as well as faith in me from the NCTJ, it is these small personal journeys of regaining an individual identity and fulfilment of potential that together makes a global shift. A change we all have a hand in and responsibility for. After all, fulfilling our individual potential regardless of bias either unconscious, conscious or even our own subconscious, surely means the world will be a richer, more diverse and happier place with more fulfilled people in it.

So, I would like to remind us all on IWD the words of another champion of change and diversity, that of President Obama when he said back in 2005: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” Because change needs to come from us all.

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