6 Gender Biases in the Workplace and How We Can Address Them
Culture

6 Gender Biases in the Workplace and How We Can Address Them

As humans, we have biases.   They can be deliberate or unconscious and can impact all areas of society 🌍   They stem from stereotypes and assumptions we have about different groups of people.     Why do we rely on stereotypes? We have a conscious and unconscious mind that works in two different ways. […]

March 6th, 2023
*

Helina.

Marketing Manager

As humans, we have biases.

 

They can be deliberate or unconscious and can impact all areas of society 🌍

 

They stem from stereotypes and assumptions we have about different groups of people.

 

 

Why do we rely on stereotypes?

We have a conscious and unconscious mind that works in two different ways. Our conscious mind works slower and more rationally, whereas our unconscious mind relies on instinct and fast decision-making.

 

Why do we have the two?

 

Different situations call for different reaction speeds.

 

Imagine you were confronted with a tiger. Our unconscious mind would take charge in that situation to keep us safe by instantly viewing the tiger as a threat to encourage us to escape straight away.

 

Our unconscious mind helps to protect us from immediate danger by relying on shortcuts such as stereotypes to help us make these judgements fast. However, this comes at a cost, as making judgements this quickly means they are not always accurate.

 

Although being confronted by a tiger is a much rarer occurrence in today’s world, our brains are still hardwired to rely on these shortcuts.

 

Consequently, in the workplace, we may find that our thoughts, opinions, and decisions are influenced by gender stereotypes without even realising it.

 

 

A man is often stereotyped as an assertive, career-focused individual with natural leadership qualities 👨

 

A woman is often stereotyped as a kind, emotional, and family-focused individual 👩

 

 

Because of these gender stereotypes, women are impacted by several gender biases in the workplace that can affect them throughout their career, from getting hired through to achieving progression.

 

 

What gender biases can we see in the workplace, and what can we do to avoid them?

 

 

Performance Bias 📈

 

This bias is focused on assumptions about the abilities of men and women in the workplace – a woman’s performance tends to be underestimated, and a man’s performance tends to be overestimated.

 

Because of this, women often feel like they need to do more work to prove themselves to be just as competent as their male co-workers.

 

This bias affects a woman’s career progression, performance review, and overall confidence in her ability to do her job.

 

How can we reduce this bias?

 

Gain feedback from different sources such as peers and clients and focus on performance metrics.

 

 

Attribution Bias 💬

 

Because a woman’s performance is often underestimated, women are assumed to be less competent and are given less credit for their successes and more blame for their failures.

 

As a result, women are more likely to be interrupted during meetings. This can significantly impact their confidence and prevent them from speaking up in the future.

 

How can we reduce this bias?

 

Encourage all employees to be heard – ensure everyone who wants to be heard is heard and everyone is fully engaged when they are speaking to the team.

 

 

Likeability Bias 👍👎

 

Imagine the CEO of a finance company 💰

 

Did you imagine a man? 👨 Most people tend to.

 

Because we expect men to be assertive, a man in a leadership position feels natural to us. Therefore, we tend to approve of their self-assured leadership.

 

Whereas, because we expect women to be agreeable and kind, a woman in a leadership role feels unnatural to us. Their assertiveness can come across as being too bossy – making her less liked than a male leader.

 

Being liked in a leadership position is important, which is why women can struggle to be fully respected as leaders when female assertiveness is often interpreted negatively.

 

How can we reduce this bias?

 

Be aware. Question your interpretations of a woman’s leadership style and actions. Would you feel the same way about her as a leader if she was a man? If the answer is no, then you know this bias is skewing your impressions.

 

 

Affinity Bias 👥

 

Humans like what is familiar to them.

 

This makes us more likely to gravitate towards people like ourselves.

 

Because most of those in positions of power are white men, this can significantly impact a woman’s ability to be promoted and reach those most senior positions.

 

How can we reduce this bias?

 

Ensure hiring boards are as diverse as possible.

 

 

Maternal Bias 👩👧👦

 

This is the assumption that if women become mothers, they become less committed to their careers and are less competent.

 

This negative assumption causes mothers to be held to higher standards and reduces their professional opportunities. They are often seen to receive reduced salaries and are less likely to be hired compared to women without children.

 

How can we reduce this bias?

 

Focus your attention on work output and performance metrics when reviewing your employees’ work. This will help to filter out irrelevant information when evaluating your team’s efforts.

 

 

Double Discrimination 🚫

 

Because there are also racial and ethnic biases, women who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, are a person of colour, and/or are foreign are seen to be impacted even more negatively than other women, hindering their career prospects even more.

 

How can we reduce this bias?

 

Review hiring and promotion decisions in more detail. How are you making these decisions? Could bias be impacting them?

 

 

Bias affects us all 👨🧑🏿🧑🏽🧑🏻

 

No one is immune from the impact of biases. But, we can all still challenge them when we feel they are impacting people in the workplace.

 

Biases are holding back talented employees and leaders from reaching their potential.

 

Although awareness of the gender biases we see in the workplace is a helpful starting point, action is what is needed to take steps in the right direction to continue breaking down the bias in the workplace and ensuring there’s diversity in the hiring process.

 


 

Need more content like this? Subscribe to our newsletter.

 


 

Looking to hire? Get in touch with one of our hiring experts.

 


 

To find out more about how to focus on your brand, get in touch today.
Want to hear about our other articles?
Looking to hire your next superstar?
Keen to explore our latest vacancies?
Yellow Bricks is a female-owned and led executive search firm hiring predominately for software companies with diversity and inclusion at the heart of our offering. To learn more, click here.
Related posts
6 Tips for Working In Hot Weather

6 Tips for Working In Hot Weather

As the UK declares a national heatwave emergency with temperatures set to exceed the record set in Cambridge in 2019 of 38.7 degrees, we provide some useful tips for getting through a day of work in the sweltering heat. With the huge rise in people working from home, access to industrial-sized, state-of-the-art air-con units for […]
How to Give Your CV the Edge

How to Give Your CV the Edge

Taking the time to craft your CV has never been so critical.   A CV is often the first glimpse of you that a company has to decide if they want to consider you for a new job opening – standing out as a good match for their organisation is important.   Getting your CV […]
Supercharge Your Pipeline: 5 Tips for Quality Candidate Feedback

Supercharge Your Pipeline: 5 Tips for Quality Candidate Feedback

Want to grow your people pipeline?   The most common complaint from candidates is a need for more constructive feedback; considering the candidate has invested time in your organisation, is it only fair to provide some constructive feedback to help the person with their future job search?   With so many leaders feeling uncomfortable giving […]
3 Business Leadership Skills You Need to Hire in 2024

3 Business Leadership Skills You Need to Hire in 2024

In the fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape of 2024, hiring the right leader is critical to organizational success.   As Deloitte found, businesses with a culture led by great leaders were 12 times more likely to have high business performance.   But you’ve got to know what to hire! And that can be difficult to […]
5 Practical Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome in 2024

5 Practical Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome in 2024

How many times have you recently felt that you have lost your career edge? Do you feel like others are more confident and overtaking you to achieve greater success? You are not alone; self-doubt has crept in, and we’re here to help you banish it!   As experienced recruitment specialists, we understand that individuals often […]
Benefits of Hiring Temps During Uncertain Times

Benefits of Hiring Temps During Uncertain Times

When times look rough, it is often helpful to look back for guidance.   In the past few years there has been a major battle for talent. With the post pandemic boom, many experienced exponential growth, which warranted the extra headcount. However, as things settle and in some cases, go backward, we are seeing a […]
Remote war rages on. What’s your take?

Remote war rages on. What’s your take?

We are currently witnessing a large-scale social experiment unfold:   Can we be just as effective when working from home?   Are we just as engaged, productive, and happy?   The COVID-19 pandemic forced many workplaces to shut their doors entirely, resulting in millions of workers being required to work from home.   Now, three years […]
Work is changing. Don’t get left behind.

Work is changing. Don’t get left behind.

The world is changing, and so is the workplace 🌍 👔  From witnessing The Great Resignation, it is clear that now, more than ever, employees are seeking more from their jobs and the world of work is changing. Employers may be quick to assume a pay rise is the antidote.  However, in 2022, money is […]
London receives record investments into Impact Tech

London receives record investments into Impact Tech

London has become one of the fastest-growing hubs for impact tech with start-ups. Up to the end of 2020, the UK had secured more investment in the past 5 years than any other country in the world, in 2020 an astonishing £950m was raised.

Join 2,500+ forward-thinking leaders.

People. Culture. Growth.
Unlock your leadership potential with our biweekly newsletter. No spam, only gold.