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Say No to Gender Bias: It’s Time to #BreakTheBias for Women

Equity for women is only possible when we create a world where every woman can take up space and use her voice. Learn how you can help break gender bias at work.

Scarcity has become an underlying, unconscious force for women in the workplace. We have been taught that there is not enough space for everyone at the table. In fact, even when we make it to the table… we are asked to lower our voice—to become as small as we can.

What is gender bias?

Gender bias happens when there is a preference for one gender above the others. Research stated that this type of bias happens more in women than men in the workplace, and other factors such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, or race may amplify gender bias. Just like the example mentioned above, when gender bias happens in the workplace, the affected individuals may not get the same opportunity as the other individuals.

Gender bias can happen consciously and unconsciously. Often, people do not even realize that they have mental associations formed in their brain despite our best efforts, as we, humans, are naturally biased. Therefore, it is important to continuously review our efforts to eliminate unconscious bias from our system.

But…there are also incredible women breaking the bias

Over the years, women have made incredible strides in the world of work, breaking gender bias. We hold positions of leadership, develop support groups, and continue to fight to close the pay gap. However, the pandemic decimated that progress as many women were forced to choose between work and home, and ultimately many left the workforce.

As the Great Resignation rages on and the war for talent becomes even more competitive, businesses around the globe are taking a hard and honest look at their culture. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices have taken center stage as employees are no longer sticking around for the status quo but are demanding that workplaces value, include, and respect all voices. The narrative of scarcity is being flipped on its head. The trauma of the last few years has left employees unwilling to accept that there is not enough room for everyone when there is an obvious and clear disparity gap. It has become clear that employees around the world think that gender bias should have no place anymore in the workplace.

So, as we reflect on the theme of #BreakTheBias for this year’s International Women’s Day, we have to also take an honest look at ways in which we all do and do not contribute to inclusion practices. It is important that all women—from all backgrounds, cultures, body types, sexual and gender preferences, and abilities are given the space to infuse their unique voices, wisdom, and intuition into our culture. There is more than enough room for everyone to succeed and shine if we are brave enough to understand how our own voices and actions either prop other women up or tear them down.

It is important that all women—from all backgrounds, cultures, body types, sexual and gender preferences, and abilities are given the space to infuse their unique voices, wisdom, and intuition into our culture.

How to avoid gender bias in the workplace

Here are three ways you can help #BreakTheBias:

  1. Educate yourself

    It has been a powerful activity to study my own gender biases. As a white woman, I come from heritage and culture of diminishing the voices of women of color. The more I understand that history, and how it continues to influence my thinking and life, the more I can recognize and combat that thinking and the subsequent actions. I can use this knowledge to actively become anti-racist and learn how to grow as an ally for women of color.

  2. Become a door opener rather than a gatekeeper

    Women who are in leadership have a responsibility to pave the road for those coming up behind them. Scarcity culture created fear for many, and with it an attitude of gatekeeping for upcoming opportunities. Instead, I encourage you to become a door opener. This is made possible when women from all kinds of backgrounds, skill sets, cultures, abilities, sexual identities, and more are celebrated for their unique experiences. Their lived and learned expertise are given just as much emphasis as those we “recognize” and inherently understand, and their leaders look for ways to prop up their success in as many ways as they can.

  3. Encourage women everywhere to take up as much space as they need

    Women have been taught and conditioned to be as small as they possibly can be—their voices, bodies, careers, etc. As we fiercely work to #BreakTheBias, it is important to create workplaces for women to be allowed to take up as much room as they need. There is plenty of room for everyone to live to their fullest potential. The more we continue to hold women back, the more we will suffer the consequences of a scarcity culture. Open your mind and heart to the possibilities that exist when women are not suppressed, but instead, they are empowered.

We are living in a time of awareness, and we continue to progress towards a more equitable world. But there is still so much to do to eradicate gender bias. We have gained momentum, but if we want to keep growing towards a more healthy, connected, and equitable world, then we each must do our part to #BreakTheBias.

 

You have the power to break the gender bias. Check out our International Women’s Day Collection for some insightful resources that can help you build an inclusive workplace!

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Author

Kristina Iniguez

Kristina Iniguez is the Head of Brand, PR, and External Communication at SHL. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work and ten years of experience leading and developing teams across public, private, and non-profit organizations. She is a creative visionary and strategist who utilizes careful listening and open collaboration to engage audiences in mission-centric organizations. She utilizes relationship-based techniques, like human-centered design, to build communication platforms that reach, educate, and engage key stakeholders. She is passionate about talent development because she believes that people are any organization's greatest asset. The more an organization holistically invests in its employees—the more they will succeed!

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