REPOST: Prejudice (experience, and forgiveness) - International Woman's day

For 2019 International Women's Day, we spoke to celebrity Daphne Iking to talk about what it means to her about experiencing Prejudice. 

 

DSKY: Have you experienced prejudice in the past? 

Oh yes, for sure. I sold cigarettes and was a part-time cabaret dancer during my University days. I needed the money to pay for my fees and boarding. Just because I sold what I sold and danced and came back at odd hours, I was perceived to be “loose” and a bad scholar. One day, a classmate (who also lived in the same block as I and often gave me the eye for coming back late on my scooter) said to me during maths lecture (upon receiving our exam results), “Takpe Daph. Dapat C pun cukup hebat lah tu memandangkan Daph ni liar sikit”. I don’t know what made me do. Maybe I was annoyed. I definitely wanted to remove that smug look on her face. I purposely let me paper fall on her side of the chair and when she picked it up, she stuttered a bit when she saw my “A” written on the sheet. Guys thought I was an easy lay. Funnily, a more recent incident was when I was sided from a job because I was “too old” and “not sexy enough” for the brand.

 

DSKY: How did you felt about it?

I felt annoyed. But then I felt empowered knowing that no one has the right to make me feel less of myself; no one can make me feel inferior without my consent. I grew stronger from that experience. 

 

DSKY: What advice would you give to women on how to approach gender bias?

Gender bias exists in both directions and for me personally, a job (for instance) should be given based on meritocracy (and not just for the sake of filling up a [30%] quota (again, for instance).

Having said that, I don’t think a woman needs to “change” herself to “fit” that role she is vying for. For instance, a woman wants to sit on the board. She doesn’t have to have “masculine traits” to “appear more confident and  driven”. And if she does, we women should not brand her as being “bossy, rude and a b*tch”. It’s a pity that it’s women who normally put down other women. We should instead, empower each other, lift each other up.

DSKY: What do you wish you could see more of women doing to overcome gender bias?

Gender bias exists in both directions and for me personally, a job (for instance) should be given based on meritocracy (and not just for the sake of filling up a [30%] quota (again, for instance).

Having said that, I don’t think a woman needs to “change” herself to “fit” that role she is vying for. For instance, a woman wants to sit on the board. She doesn’t have to have “masculine traits” to “appear more confident and  driven”. And if she does, we women should not brand her as being “bossy, rude and a b*tch”. It’s a pity that it’s women who normally put down other women. We should instead, empower each other, lift each other up.

DSKY: What do you wish you could see more of women doing to overcome gender bias?

Push for gender equity and to eliminate biasness! The drive for gender equity must become institutionalized within the organization and this needs to start with top management. It has to be tied to the company’s strategic mission and organization. Once there's clear directives, each success, big or small, should be celebrated. Desired change should be rewarded or given incentives. Most importantly, we women need to believe it in our hearts that we have every right to equal pay and opportunities.

 

DSKY: Where does the most influence upon millennial generation come from regarding the development of prejudice and bias?

The people surrounding them. I don’t think it’s just our millennials. It’s from our moyang and their moyangs. Monkey see monkey do. If we continue to inculcate gender bias terms and behaviour in our workplace, home and social gatherings, then our children and our youths will deem that as “normal”.

 

DSKY: Do you think the current social media helps or hinders current views of prejudice? Are there more positives or negatives? 

 

Yes. I think if used constructively, KOLs and good PSA campaigns and responsible social media influencers are able to send the right message to spread awareness and highlight gender biasness and to fight for gender equity.

 

DSKY: In an ideal world, what environment do you see your daughter living in the future? 

She doesn’t have to hide her pregnancy in order to land a job (sorry. This was based on what happened to me). 

In an ideal world, NO child is left behind and deprived of education, healthcare and a decent living. They should be living in a safe, positive environment where they get to practice freedom of speech and religion (and it would be safe to do so because ideally, everyone will be able to have mature discourse and celebrate each other’s diversity and beliefs. 

 

DSKY: If you have the power to change the world we are currently living in, what would you do? 

The first thing I would do is to end statelessness. I think it’s so inhumane to not grant citizenship to a person, especially if it’s because of something as petty as the state’s sloppy SOP or not implementing what’s already written in the constitution. We cannot rob a person from having the basic in life like education and healthcare. It’s just a vicious cycle of poverty and a waste of human capital.

 

DSKY: What advice would you give to women on how to forgive? 

If you want to reduce unhealthy anger and bitterness, let go. Forgiveness is the path to peace. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, and when you dwell on hurtful events and situations; resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root and rot you inside out. 

 

DSKY: What makes you #ProudToBe the way you are as a person? 

I was able to get out of my depression and healed to get me to where I am now. Stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. I will never forget that moment when my 1+-year-old daughter had to pry a knife off me when I thought my world was crumbling. 

https://www.instagram.com/daphneiking/?hl=en

 

 

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