Gender Equality and the perils of Unconscious Bias

I consider myself a very fair person when it comes to my attitude towards gender equality in the workplace and in life in general and would see myself as very straight forward and open minded. I am a very public supporter of the promotion of women at all levels and someone who is very conscious of doing anything possible to make things more equal (yes I know, I sound a bit full of myself. Don’t worry there is a comeuppance on the way)

I was talking to a colleague about a high flying and super impressive person who works in our company, who happens to be a woman, and was singing her praises. She had recently won a major global award and is a shining light of achievement on so many levels. She is a fantastic manager and leader who has coached and developed a high performance team. Not only that she is a mentor to many in our business and on top of that is a fantastic mum.

So as we were discussing all of this I then said (and I cringe as I write this) “I don’t know how she fits it all in”.

What a terribly sexist thing to say. To which my horrified colleague rightly replied “nobody would ask that of a man”. That is absolutely true. I had fallen prey to the most fundamental type of unconscious bias. Then as if to completely ensure that I learned my lesson I came across a study focused on gender equality, or lack there of, in some careers groups and one of the critical factors listed was unconscious bias. A specific one “How stereotypes impair women’s careers in science” was very revealing.

In it several managers were asked to recruit people to run some mathematical tasks. The talent offered to them was an equal mix of men and women, with equivalent skills. The researchers found four things:

  • Male and female managers were twice as likely to recruit men, based on paper applications
  • When interviewed, the male candidates inflated their abilities while the women downplayed theirs. However recruiting managers failed to compensate for that difference, and were still twice as likely to choose the man
  • Even when provided with data that the women were just as capable, the managers still preferred men (who were 1.5 times as likely to be hired)
  • When managers knowingly chose a candidate who had performed worse on the test, they were two-thirds more likely to choose a male candidate

There was some excellent analysis on the study provided here and much of the commentary rings true. If we are going to properly empower women it must be a conscious effort and may involve shaking things up or even retraining people to leave behind the unconscious bias (even those of us who would have thought they would be subject to this). If we are going to generate true equality it is up to all of us to make the environment support this.

Consciously we need to do more!



Categories: Equality, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

lauraagudelo272

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

I Build Websites For Free

Free websites for individuals, businesses, churches and anyone with a great idea!

The Virtual Statesman

The Independent & Engaging Political Commentator

Dream, Play, Write!

Today, make a commitment to your writing.

Am I Thirty Yet

Hopefully by the time I'm thirty I'll have this all figured out.

Medical Laboratory Equipment

Worldwide laboratory equipment supplier

Just A Small Town Girl...

Just your average 25 year old diagnosed with E.W.S. at birth... AKA Excessive Writing Syndrome :)

To Muse and Carouse

SOLANGE'S STORIES ON MARKETING, PERSPECTIVES & IDEAS

The Neighborhood

Telling the Story from Every Vantage Point

MindSync

True Life Revealed From Every Angle

~.Just Life. ~

I love you<3 R.I.P Mitch Lucker.

Jack Flacco

THE OFFICIAL SITE

Alina's Scentsy Scents

scentsy scents, an honest opinion about fragrances

YourCustom Essays

We serve YOU!

Radiance Project NZ

beauty through balance & nature

I'm Emma London

The life of a South African Teenager

Parenting And Stuff

Not a "how to be a great parent" blog

Trade News in Brief

International Economic Affairs & Relations / Regional & International Organizations / Global Commerce & Business

silkroadcollector.me

An International company that offers private antique art sales to clients around the globe.

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

** OFFICIAL Site of Artist Ray Ferrer **

Over My Styled Body

A personal style blog, giving fashionistas a daily dose of style one outfit at a time

The Ethereal Mindscape

Not a Who. More of a What.

GYA today

Give Yourself Away

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

ascetic paige

Spirituality & Food

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

To Be Aware

It's all about disbelieving your thoughts

Speak for Yourself

Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!

iheariseeilearn

Earth and Abstraction

Prego and the Loon

Pregnant and Dealing With Domestic Violence

Lateral Love

"The time is always right to do what is right" ~ Martin Luther King Jr

John's Fitness Advice Blog

Fat Loss Made Easy & Fast

Moolta

The official Moolta Blog

Life Out of the Box

Buy a product, help a person in need + see your impact.

sethsnap

Photographs from my world.

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

ExploreDreamDiscover Talks

Travel, culture, food, and perception

What I Am CreateEng

A Life of Fun and Leisure

RHF INDIA

The Complete Human Body

%d bloggers like this: