International Women's Day 2022: It Starts with Me

Updated: May 29

Abam Mambo has always held it deep within her to keep fighting bias. Recounting her days growing up when she was told that “Ladies are seen and not heard”, Abam shared how biasness is pervasive and deep in our roots. The more places Abam travelled to, the more she realised that bias exists everywhere. She travelled to 6 continents and 100 cities, experienced working in various roles in employment law, corporate compliance and workplace investigations, and she has found that bias exists everywhere. Undeterred by that, Abam remains committed to fighting bias, and she encouraged everyone in the room and virtually to keep fighting the bias. “If we don't, who will?” Abam chimed, drawing nods of agreement from the audience.



This sense of purpose and reliability stands out in Abam’s life as she moved cities, and continued fighting bias at every turn. Bias, often in the form of false narratives about women, continues to be ingrained in our workplaces, our communities and even sometimes in our homes.


The Managing Director of the workplace consultancy, BelongingIQ, shared that being self-aware of the bias held against oneself can be the first step to breaking the bias. By actively recognising the biases women subconsciously hold, from imposter syndrome to the culture of being biased against each other, and even to gender bias, women will be in a better position to break the bias. Part of breaking the bias includes being aware that women are sometimes part of a culture of biases against each other.


Through personal stories and inspiring narratives weaved into the workshop, Abam captivated the audience and encouraged them to take a deeper look at what biases women tend to bring into the workplace, community, and home. One of the most inspiring stories Abam shared was how a lady went home to ask her husband if she could take her dream job when she was offered, as it required extensive travelling. Abam used this story to advocate that women should not give away the agency of any decisions, and women should not assume that men want to make the decision for the women.


Breaking the bias also includes challenging our biases against men. Men are emotional beings too, and Abam encouraged women fighting bias to allow men the emotional space to be emotional and vulnerable because by nature they are emotional creatures too.


To Abam, the surest way to break the bias is to show up. “All day, every day, as yourself”, Abam’s infectious energy flowed through the room and inspired the audience, as she continued, “Fail today, show up tomorrow. Lose today, show up tomorrow.” Abam urged the ladies in the room to speak up, listen up, and act up. Abam added that when women give themselves the permission to look at things differently, that’s one of the surest ways to break bias.


As Michelle Obama says, “Every one of us has the power and obligation to be a champion for girls around the world”. Abam Mambo’s inspiring words and practical tips help women to break the bias and rise above and beyond in various spheres of influence.

 

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Speaker: Abam Mambo

Partner: UBS Author: Philline Cheng Editors: Rachel Leow, Teresa Widodo, Joey Ong


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