It is a sad reality that gender bias plays a significant role in the workplace. Implicit bias refers to an unconscious tendency to favor something over another – in this case, favoring men above women. Even if a company does not have an issue with explicit sexism or discrimination, it can still be a restrictive and harmful environment for female employees.
Why do so many organizations struggle with closing the gender gap, and what can you do about it? Here is a quick guide to combating gender bias at your job.
Know the signs of implicit gender bias
Several indications exist regarding gender bias as an issue in your workplace. One red flag is if you feel like you need to constantly strike a balance between appearing too masculine and feminine. If you come across as too cautious or soft, you may be seen as weaker or less important. But if you assert yourself with confidence, others may see you as bossy. Feeling like you are in a lose-lose situation is a sign that your job is toxic.
Another sign is men getting recognition despite you making the same – or better – efforts and accomplishments. If your male co-workers receive appreciation and success even though you work just as hard or even harder, it is likely because of implicit bias.
Actively fight against bias
The best thing for you to do to create a healthier space is to confront gender bias on all fronts. Acknowledge where bias exists and guard against it. While you may fear condescension or mockery for speaking out, it is vital to not put up with unhealthy mindsets and organizational structures. This may come in the form of correcting a male colleague who is out of line, reporting an issue to HR or bringing a legal claim of gender discrimination against your employer. You deserve just as much recognition and respect as anyone else.