Challenge Your Gender Bias (Part 2)… at 40+
Having read Challenge You Gender Bias (Part 1), I’m glad you stuck around for Part 2.
Gender bias or inequality is an issue in and around the workplace. Here are a few examples of gender bias that you may have encountered, some obvious, some not so much. Can you prevent any of these things from happening? The solutions may not all be simple, but a conversation is a good starting point…
I’ve listed 9 here…What would be your number 10?
1. Gender bias in Conversation –
Do you find yourself having to speak differently to the men and women around you? I mean, an actual effort to avoid or include particular terminology? Your aim should be gender neutrality, and eventually that becomes a habit, a good one at that. Locker-room talk is not just a guy thing.
2. Gender bias and Glass ceilings –
Have you witnessed people being “held back” on that ladder of opportunity, for no reason “other than gender”? Have you pushed for your opportunities? Have you accepted roles, for which someone else was clearly passed over for? Why are there still male-dominated, and female dominated roles, especially “higher up the ranks”?
3. Gender bias in Harassment –
Often overlooked, even in 2018, would be an understatement. Hand on shoulder, small of back, even a kiss on the cheek? Innocent, and often deemed acceptable by BOTH parties, yet again, a clear indication of gender bias. And when it is not acceptable, the “minority” finds it impossible to be heard or taken seriously. The issue of “intent” is one big elephant in the room, but the behaviour isn’t.
4. Gender bias in Interviews –
What was your last interview like? Whether you were the interviewer or interviewee, the question of children has no place there. “Do you have, or plan to have children?”. This has no bearing on your skills or qualifications or ability to do your job. And there’s a good chance that the interviewer was once a child. (Artificial Intelligence, AI, will probably take over the interview process one day…).
5. Gender bias in Outdated views –
Specifically, dress requirements, not dress codes, but requirements. Uniform is one thing, but to be told you must wear heels over flats, or must wear skirts/dresses and not trousers…? It’s 2018, If it applies to men, it should apply to women too and to anyone regardless of what they identify as, right?
6. Gender bias in Positional Bias –
So, I know a lot of receptionists, mostly female. And I also know a few concierges, all male. I’ve spoken to some of them, and the truth is that there are certain roles that certain genders just don’t apply for. Not that one is anymore qualified than the next to do the job, but not applying for a role, on the grounds of your own gender, makes you part of the problem, am I right? The occupations above are just examples, but the truth is that there are boundaries to be pushed here. I say this not long after “not” batting an eyelid to a male midwife, and years of watching pantomime. Don’t back away from opportunities because they are “traditionally” male or female roles. Let someone else be guilty of holding you back, and then deal with them accordingly. Just don’t let that person be you.
7. Gender bias in Responsibilities –
Collect children from school, women’s work, check. Unload delivery from truck, men’s work, check. Change the clutch on that Mercedes, men’s work, check. Nurse, regular observations on this patient who has just had an operation, women’s work, check. 2018. None of us should still be here, in the dark ages. Thankfully, plenty of us aren’t. Bravo.
8. Gender bias in Salary –
This was never going to go unmentioned. Alongside putting yourself forward, is knowing your worth. A company’s salary structure should be clear, as should be a list of requirements and recommendations that get you up the corporate ladder. Gender should not be one of those requirements. Proving someone’s salary against their qualifications is a different kettle of fish. How did they get there and why? Should be as transparent as the glass ceiling you shouldn’t be looking through. Challenge your company’s integrity. Courage is an underused resource. Step forward, be counted, whoever you are.
9. Gender bias in Terminations –
I don’t mean to turn anyone into a snitch, but, in the interest of covering your own backs, keep a diary. When stuff happens at work, be aware, and if you don’t have a photographic memory, make notes. See how “differently” people are treated. Same misdemeanour, different punishments etc. It may come around to you one day, “A” got a slap on the wrist, “B” got suspended, and “C” got fired on the spot. Yet they all did the same thing? We don’t live in a perfect world, by any stretch of the imagination, but its things like this which get us closer to it. Company policy and rules should apply equally to both genders, implementation is a battle we have yet to win.
We are not going change society in one fell swoop. We can seek to change our behaviours, one step at a time.
A little more consideration for the people around us goes a long way.
Have you thought of your number 10?
Are these attitudes too integrated to change?
As you look at the “next generations”, can you see, either bad practices that they are learning?
Or, perhaps, they can show us a thing or two regarding Gender Bias?
Have your say.