Gender bias occurs when particular skills are attributed to or believed to be lacking in a person just based on their gender. Unfortunately, women are often negatively affected by gender bias.
Gender stereotypes affect our perception of competence, performance, and the way we engage with our employees. Gender bias on the part of managers or executives can result in discrimination which can create legal liability for the organization. But lawsuits aside, gender bias creates unfairness and has no place in the world of business (or anywhere else for that matter).
Many companies have shown their commitment to eliminating gender bias by investing in inclusivity leadership training and establishing professional networks for female employees. This is a step in the right direction, but what also needs to be addressed is how gender bias holds women back from being hired in the first place and interferes with well-deserved career progress.
We also need to be clear that addressing gender bias does not mean giving preferential treatment to female staff just because they happen to be female. Addressing gender bias means equal opportunity, respect, and appreciation for everyone, regardless of gender.
How You Can Address Gender Bias
Gender bias occurs on many levels and across departments. For example, managers often favor males for sales roles as they feel women cannot be fully committed to their jobs due to family responsibilities.
If you have a highly-skilled, competent female employee, do not assume she cannot do justice to a role just because she is female.
Effective unconscious bias training can help managers avoid personal biases from affecting their decisions.
To effectively address gender bias you may want to take a look at the following areas:
- Remuneration: Employees should be paid according to their experience, qualifications, and performance. Gender should not be a determining Women are typically underrepresented in many leadership roles and the Australian pay-gap between genders is pegged at roughly 13.9%.
- Avoid presumptions: Do not only ask your female employees to make coffee for the team – they are not paid help. Office responsibilities should be equally shared among all employees.
- Neutral Communication: As a manager, keep your style of communication gender-neutral. Maintain a consistent style of communication with all employees.
- Review company policies: take a closer look at your company policies and make positive changes that help overcome gender bias. Managers can consider incorporating more family-friendly policies such as offering telecommuting, flexitime, or more work-from-home options.
Inclusive Leadership Training
Symmetra offers results-oriented diversity and inclusion training that helps organizations build engaging, cohesive environments. Our skilled consultants can create customized HR solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of your organization.