Dr. Ann Olivarius, Senior Partner, writes about breaking the bias this International Women’s Day –
Bias is the twisted funhouse mirror that reflects a distorted and unjust reality back to us. Bias is what makes injustice seem natural – unavoidable, even.
Bias are the glasses we can never fully take off. Although we can try to peer over, under and around them, no one can be entirely without bias. But together, we can help each other see clearer, and break the systemic bias holding women and girls back.
At our firm, we use civil law to smash biases. Whether it’s the bias that a British couple seeking to adopt would not be good enough parents for a baby not of their skin color, or the bias that keeps women in medicine from getting the promotions or pay rises that they deserve.
Bias can also stop us from recognizing when an injustice has been done. One of our clients struggled to make police even acknowledge she had been hurt and that she deserved justice and help, such was the bias against both violence against women and internet-based privacy violations. Chrissy Chambers helped break the bias against so-called revenge porn and today both the legal and cultural landscape look very different than it did in 2014.
Biases also act as an eraser, turning victims into people who don’t deserve and need our help. That was the case for our clients at Warwick University. They approached their university for help, after finding out that a group of fellow students had exchanged the most violent and degrading messages about them on a WhatsApp group. The university’s gender biases and general bias against internet crimes led them to treat the girls as somewhat complicit in their own abuse, and to refuse them help.
“To me, #Break the Bias means smashing every glass ceiling that still exists. It means acknowledging the additional layers of bias against women of all backgrounds. To truly be intentional in intersectionality is to empower women against sexism and oppression across borders, sexualities, abilities, religions, and races. That is why I started my career in law. ” – Jair Beckles, Legal Analyst
Supporting frontline Bias Breakers
Here are some organisations and groups who #BreakTheBias and we love to support. If you want to support them too, see specific IWD campaign details below.
This year the Centre for Women’s Justice (UK) takes part in the women and girls match fund, meaning every donation they receive between 8 March – 15 March 2022 will be doubled! Their #GiveHerJustice campaign is raising money to challenge unfair convictions of women who have offended due to being subjected to domestic abuse.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global human rights organization of lawyers and advocates who ensure reproductive rights are protected in law as fundamental human rights for the dignity, equality, health, and well-being of every person.