International WOmen's Day: #Breakthebias

By Dee

International Women’s Day is an important initiative celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. This day has been celebrated for over a hundred years raising awareness and advocating for women’s equality and gender parity. 

The theme of International Women’s Day this year is to Break The Bias:

“Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.

Are you in?

Will you actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it?

Will you help break the bias? 

Cross your arms to show solidarity.”

23W is an incredible community of powerful, strong and inspiring women. It is a space for women to feel supported, encouraged and empowered, and most importantly to connect with other women. 
Gyms can be an intimidating environment for a lot of women, and is difficult to have the confidence to step up to the weights when ‘women’s areas’ in commercial gyms are generally filled with <5kg dumbbells and cardio equipment. It’s been difficult for women to find their place in the fitness industry and demonstrate that we ARE strong and have a place at the squat rack, deadlift platform and bench press set up. Places like 23W are important to show women not only how to lift weights and get fit and strong, but also how to step into body confidence and build the sense of self-empowerment we all deserve. As well as providing the equipment that aren’t always provided in female-focussed fitness environments. 
Gender bias exists all over the world, and having conversations about our experiences in the gym, at work, at home, in restaurants, in any areas of our lives all goes towards building awareness and action towards equality.
International Women’s Day have created the #BreakTheBias campaign and the IWD 2022 Pose to start these conversations and encourage people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world. 

Some members of our community have shared their thoughts on the International Women’s Day theme and their experience with gender bias:

I am passionate about helping women feel comfortable and empowered in the ‘weights room’. Strength training is for EVERYBODY. Going into commercial gyms I always thought it so sad to see women relegated to the cardio section because they lacked confidence and knowledge to grab anything heavier than a set of 3kg dumbbells. I love also being a female in business and inspiring my team to be their best. So many women hold themselves back out of fear of what others might think, because of gender stereotypes and fear to break outside of the ‘traditional roles’. I love raising my children and being a mum, but I also love being able to role model my desire to be career-focused, self disciplined and to have the courage to build something bigger than myself.         –  Ange Drake

When I started working as a Personal Trainer at the age of 18, I experienced a lot of stereotypes and bias being a young girl finding her way around gym and her place as a coach. I’ve felt the bias towards women in fitness which contributed to my ambition to create an environment where women can thrive, feel empowered to step up to the weights, and feel supported the whole way. I want to show women how strong we can actually be, and nothing makes me happier than seeing our community set lifting PBs that they never thought they could do. It goes deeper than finding a place in the gym and lifting big, it’s about stepping into our true inner strength potential, building the confidence and mental resilience to stand up to bias’s we may face in other areas of our lives. Lifting weights teaches you that you can push through discomfort, the challenge, the self-doubt or negativity in your brain, and achieve what you want to and CAN achieve. This is an important lesson to carry with us and practice outside of the gym too.        –  Dee Segrave

I’m a manager in a large software company, I worked my way up to my current position, and now manage the team I started in. Back then I was 1 of 3 women in the team of 20. Since haveing the opportunity, I’ve broken the bias through the recruitment process. I’ve created a diverse team with talent form all different backgrounds, skillsets and education. Everyone contributes in their own individual way. PLUS my team is now 50% women and 50% men. I switched the resume (not entirely), and started hiring on the persons character and what they could contribute to our team and business.      – Jill

Reclaiming childbirth and seeing it as an empowering experience.      – Kay

Removing the bias of typical ‘gender roles’ at home like a woman’s job being laundry, dishes and housekeeping. I’m passionate about having equal roles at home with my partner.      – Mimi

So how do you #breakthebias in your life? Start these conversations with your peers  and call out bias when you see or experience it. 


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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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