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We grew up in a world where phrases like ‘man up’ and ‘don’t cry like a girl’ were normal.

Bias is within us all. 95% of our behaviours are dictated by our subconscious brain.

Our beliefs, values and thoughts are all dictated by this part of the brain which is developed in childhood.

This is why we often work on auto pilot, and why habit forming can be so hard.

It is also why it is challenging to untangle all the biases that we have been subjected to whilst growing up.

What we watched on TV, what we read in magazines & books, advertisements that we were exposed to.

The language that was spoken in our homes, in our schools.

All of this has influenced how we see the world and the people around us.

I am so grateful that the world my daughter is growing up in is more diverse - she can see herself in programmes like ‘Mira the royal detective’ on Disney+ and she can read books like ‘It’s ok to be different’ by Todd Parr - and of course that football win, where women playing on an international stage was just so normal for her.

However, for us it wasn’t like that.

We grew up in a world where phrases like ‘man up’ and ‘don’t cry like a girl’ were normal.

Where the media was full of men in powerful positions, with women often shown as being weaker; less important. Advertisements constantly bombarding us with messages on which toys were for girls and those that were for boys.

This formed the foundation of our beliefs.

So of course we are biased.

This national inclusion week I ask you to challenge your own internal biases. Acknowledge them. We all have them.

We can untangle them - but with intention and repetition, some ideas on how:

1) Grow your inner circle so it isn’t just people who look like you, or from similar backgrounds.

2) Read books and educate yourself (Belonging by Sue Unerman, Kathryn Jacob OBE & Mark Edwards is brilliant.)

3)Reflect & challenge yourself on the drivers behind your people related decisions/judgements

4) Educated yourself through media – ‘Maiden’ is an amazing documentary of courage and female empowerment.

The ‘When they see us’ Netflix series was a brilliant but hard watch; as it highlights the inequalities in society that people have had to endure.

5) Be conscious of your language, how you speak, and how you think.

Importantly, remember that the prefrontal cortex of the next generation is still forming. Now WE have the power to influence how they see the world.

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