Gender bias in the workplace

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It’s 2021, and despite the numerous advances we have made as a civilization, there is still some room for improvement. This is particularly true when it comes to gender bias in the workplace.

Gender bias occurs when an individual is inclined towards or prejudiced against a certain gender. This concept is intrinsically tied to the propagation of Gender Roles in modern society.

Men are viewed as naturally assertive, decisive and strong. Whereas women are viewed as warm, caring and sympathetic. While a lot of progress has been made to dispel this belief, there are still numerous cultures that believe in set roles for the different genders. This invariably affects the interrelationship of the sexes in the workplace.

Types of Bias

According to a 2019 article by Builtin, there are several unconscious bias that affects women in the workplace. Some of which includes:

  • Support Bias: This bias occurs when more resources and opportunities are allocated to one gender (typically men) than the other.
  • Review Bias: This bias occurs when employers, managers and colleagues review an employee of one gender differently from another. This happens even when the evaluations are purely merit-based.
  • Reward Bias: This type of bias occurs when management or even colleagues reward an employee of one gender differently from another gender. Rewards may be in the form of promotions, raises or other merit-based awards.

Gender bias is very prevalent and tends to happen unconsciously. For example, during recruitment, both men and women are twice as likely to hire male candidates. This also extends to specific roles, as men are 30% more likely to obtain managerial roles. The argument can be made for a certain gender being more predisposed to certain emotions, which make them better at certain roles, but it really is pseudoscience. Anybody can be anything. You do not need certain biological features to perform certain tasks better.

Way forward

How do we handle this kind of situations better in the workplace?

A key step forward would be in becoming more aware of our bias, and how we ensure that it plays a minimal role in decisions that involve hiring and promotion.

Our attitude also needs to change. We need to be more welcoming of men and women occupying counter-stereotypical roles. We expect women to be caring and warm. This tends to clash with our view of leaders as being self-reliant, assertive, dominant and competitive. Men on the other hand are viewed more as leaders because of the societal norm of what a man should be. A change in our attitudes mean people are free to choose whatever role they want to.

We can also have a clearer picture of bias in our organizations by simply analyzing the data. Compare the gender balance among all applicants vs successful candidates. Scrutinize performance reviews by gender and roles to see if bias is present.

In the end, the change we want starts with us. The more we are aware of bias like this and call it out, the faster society begins to accept the new narrative. Until then, we continue to live in a world where only 6.6% of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies are women.

At UnoCasa Limited, we utilize the very best techniques to ensure equal opportunities when recruiting for our clients. Reach out to us today at 08034006738 or info@unocasaltd.com to get started

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