#BreakTheBias - International Women’s Day 2022

  • 08 Mar 2022

This year's theme is about celebrating women's achievements, raising awareness of bias and taking action for equality.

#BreakTheBias has been set to help raise awareness about the bias women encounter within workplaces, communities and beyond. The theme for International Women's Day presents an opportunity to find out more about how we can all challenge unfair practices women face.

Last year, inspirational women from within the NUJ shared the impact female leaders have, and why they can be game changers. Read what they had to say.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“International women’s day this year encourages us to consider ways to break the bias women face. NUJ members have stood in solidarity with Afghan women journalists, and those currently reporting on the frontline in Ukraine, and supported our calls for the safety and protection of women working in the media. 

We will continue to challenge unfair practices through our campaigns, including securing equal pay and eradicating the gender pay gap, whilst amplifying the contribution of women journalists and supporting their activism within the union.”  

TUC women’s conference

At the TUC women’s conference this week, NUJ delegates will be engaging in debate on key issues including on the NUJ motion “online attacks against women journalists.” The union recognises that policies protecting women from online abuse within the workplace, are an essential step in ensuring the safety of journalists.

A key campaigning issue for the union, we’ve condemned the violence women journalists have experienced. At last year’s TUC women’s conference, Natasha Hirst, NUJ equality council chair, highlighted the negative impact on women who feel forced to withdraw from online platforms and unable to share their work.

On this year's theme, she said:

"Breaking the bias for women in journalism includes supporting career progression, challenging discrimination, pay gaps and fighting for equal pay. 

"Although International Women's Day is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate our contributions and achievements, we must be proactive every single day to create opportunities for women in our industry and in our union. When women are undermined by sexist stereotypes, threats to our safety and attempts to censor our views, we need our allies to stand with us. I call on men to support us in breaking the bias.

"I've drawn great strength from union colleagues throughout my career and I encourage women from all backgrounds to get involved with our union. There's so much that we can achieve together."

On 8 March, a free webinar organised by Unesco will bring together journalists, safety trainers, and newsroom representatives to raise awareness of the continued threats to women journalists, and provide specific instruments to promote a safer work environment. Find out more and register for “How to report safely - resources for women journalists, newsrooms and allies.

Afghan women journalists

As the Taliban took control across Afghanistan last year, the NUJ and International Federation of Journalists liaised with sister unions in the country and offered practical support, solidarity and assistance to Afghan journalists. The union condemned the killers of three female media workers and called for support from the UK and Irish governments, for journalists and media workers fleeing.

Shazia Haya is a female journalist who was evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban took control. She said “every week there are reports about concerns for the safety of journalists including women journalists in Afghanistan."

Reports indicate that of approximately 700 women journalists in the country, 600 have not returned to work, with some fleeing and others forced into hiding. Shazia explained the "Taliban have started to remove women from the media landscape and according to their media regulations, journalists and media should not produce content which would be contrary to Islam and should not report on matters that have not been confirmed by officials."

The NUJ continues to liaise with sister unions, BBC Afghan service and government, to highlight the plight of women journalists in Afghanistan. 

The gender pay gap

Gender pay reporting is now a legal requirement for employers in public, private and voluntary sectors. These regulations are welcome by the NUJ and designed to bring transparency, by encouraging employers to examine their pay policies to ensure they are not discriminatory. Despite clear legislation, across media, a gender pay gap exists. Our gender pay gap advice explains employers must publish data on its own website and to a government portal.  

All employers required to report must do so by 4 April. We’ve asked NUJ chapels to use the template letter at the end of this page engaging with employers about ways to eliminate the gender pay gap. 


Spread the word

Tweet #BreakTheBias and #IWD22 with your support for the day. Tag @nujofficial on Twitter and we’ll help spread the word too.

Find out more about International Women's Day  including events to attend.

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