Gender biases can affect all aspects of working life for women, including disparities in pay and promotions.
Every year, on March 8th, organizations worldwide burst into a frenzy as they celebrate International Women’s Day. Despite the fervour, a lot of this day’s activity can become mere token activism without actual policy interventions or changes. When I read that this year’s theme was #BreakTheBias, I was compelled to sit back and think about what bias means to me, Gender Bias to be more specific.
My POV – Gender bias at its simplest, is about having prejudice towards one gender over another. This prejudice can result in differences and discrimination in the way employees are treated. Reality is a lot more complex than that, of course. Interestingly and unfortunately, not all bias is conscious and unconscious biases are deeply ingrained. Factors and influences such as our upbringing, experiences, society, and the environment play a role in shaping the choices and decisions we take in life.
And where bias is common, organizations suffer. The impact of bias is so evident even at the level – this creates a gap in having genuinely diverse teams. Also, workplace inclusivity suffers, and no one wins in this situation.
How can we reduce gender biases?
Gender biases can affect all aspects of working life for women, including disparities in pay and promotions. In many instances, women also do not give due credit to their skills and knowledge and underplay which is a bigger problem to solve for. But as I wrote earlier, hiring is often the first place where biases creep in. Take the classic study by InSync that showed even when interviewers were giving identical resumes with only differences in the names (Simon and Susan), Simon received more interviews and was more likely to be hired than Susan.