How Women Can Overcome Bias at Work

In Careers, Enterprise, Personal Branding, Personal Growth, Small Business by tmc0 Comments

“…stereotypes affect all our judgements, women as well as men.”

–  Shelley Correll

Certain biases are hurting women in the workplace. One of such is Stereotyping. This limits the advancement of women in the workplace, not because of implicit. Men and women have gotten this unconscious belief about what men are like, what women are like, what they should do, what they shouldn’t do at work…don’t lift heavy stuff, it is for men…don’t cook, you are a man, the woman’s place is in the kitchen…IT and graphic design is for men, fashion designing is for ladies, etc. this affects how we see people, what we expect from them, ow we judge their behaviour and this affects how men and women are evaluated in the workplace.

This in fact is a major bias. As it paints a particular picture of leaders and successful people as autocratic risk-taking people, this put women out of the circle as men easily fit into this “stereotype”, making men more leader-like and women as less leader-like. This is hurting women more than we know.

Shelley Correll, a Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Stanford Graduate School of Business, in this video, “How women can overcome bias at work” talked about the period which we are in “The Stalled Gender Revolution” in which there are still stereotypes. Women are expected to behave in certain ways even in the workplace. What they do, how they behave, how they do things in the workplace. Men should do this; women should do that. As regards result, certain kinds of results are expected of them. Men are meant to do more.

On curbing bias, she suggested introducing policies and procedure in place which would allow us as individuals evaluate people, talents and abilities of people in a more effective manner. This would help in judging them properly.

We have to see the biases first, as what they are, “biases”. Once we do, (and we can be taught by the way), we would then be aware of how it could be affecting us and our judgement. As it said, acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step to dealing with the problem. The same applies here, to deal with bias, one has to acknowledge that there is in fact a bias, albeit unconsciously formed.

A tool which can be used to block/overcome bias in the workplace, is having clearly defined criteria. When promoting employees have defined criteria. This would ensure that employees who know and understand what these criteria are can work towards meeting them without thinking about whether they qualify on not based on their gender. Also following such criteria, employers would be less likely to judge/evaluate according to stereotypes. Have you noticed that sometimes when you want to make decisions, the criteria you use sometimes changes depending on whether you are talking to or evaluating a man or a woman? Eliminating that stereotype and creating a one-size-fits-all criteria which would apply to everyone regardless of the sex is one of the great ways of overcoming bias.

It wouldn’t erase the ideas and stereotypical buckets in our heads but it would help in curbing the negative effects they would have had on our decision making.

Interested in finding out what was said exactly about “How women can overcome bias in the workplace”? Watch the video below.