I had two opportunities to experience unconscious gender bias this week. A bike mechanic and a chimneysweep each looked through me (the paying customer) to a male companion. This bias I call “presumed vs. earned credibility.”
Having a woman set to represent a major political party in the race for the U.S. presidency is historical. I wish this could be the only way gender is a factor. How much of her low favorability ratings do you think are driven by unconscious gender bias?
I got weepy when Hillary Clinton locked up the nomination for president, not for political reasons but because it is historical. I celebrate what it says about the progress of women and what it does to our images of leadership.
Deaf, Blind, Biased – or Stumped? Why Leaders Don’t Respond to the Business Case for Gender Diversity
Why might the message about the value of diversity not be heard? Why might leaders hear it but not buy it? Why do men who do buy it not take effective action? These are not rhetorical questions. I have some ideas but I want your thoughts.
Unconscious gender bias is the root cause of business’ slow progress in capturing the business benefits of gender diversity. Having unconscious bias is simply human as Shankar Vedantam shows in his book “The Hidden Brain.” It is hard to change ways we aren’t even aware we have been wired, taught or acculturated to think. Our approach starts with helping people understand and appreciate both masculine and feminine strengths – in men and women.
Manpower Group commissioned research on “accelerating more women into leadership.” The report suggests that reaching “gender parity” will take time — and cultural change. It will take changing “entrenched male culture” to “gender neutral culture.” How can we do that?