“Always so professional, I’m impressed and inspired that Lean In Melbourne events have continued to operate virtually.”
“Great to hear people share some personal experiences, great takeaways for myself.”
“Such a wonderful session.”
If you’ve ever felt that you’ve had to prove yourself time and time again at work, or that your words were not heard in a boardroom meeting, you’ve encountered a form of bias. And you’re not alone.
Men are 3x more likely to interrupt women than other men.* However, Bias isn’t limited to gender.
Lean In Melbourne’s ‘50 Ways To Fight Bias In The Workplace’ workshop invited our members to understand bias as a bi-product of human processing information that needs to be consciously reworked. We all have a conscious and unconscious bias that influences how we engage with people.
Throughout the session members were invited to actively consider different types of bias, the circumstances in which they exist and ways to speak up.
The workshop opened up a safe space where everyone was encouraged to share their experiences of bias at work. “This is not a new fight, and one action won’t fix it but that doesn’t make it a waste of time,” one Lean In Melbourne member responded resolutely.
Issues of qualifications versus tokenism, the value of diversity in divergent thinking patterns and how meritocracy can be prone to bias, bubbled to the surface.
“People who see [that you’ve taken diversity into account] are so grateful for it even with little effort from you,” another Lean In member agreed.
These respectful and honest conversations revealed that individually we must be aware of our internal bias and continue to call out companies by reminding them why diversity and inclusivity should be non-negotiable.
TOP TIPS TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST BIAS AS SUGGESTED BY MEMBERS
- Wearing a safe leader sticker is a subtle yet significant way to show support to marginalised individuals.
- Amplify another woman’s idea by attaching their name to the idea. I.e. “Priyanka’s idea would be a great addition to the strategy.”
- Choose inclusive and gender neutral language. Renaming maternity leave to paternity leave, gives men the chance to accept this as normal and help change the culture.
- Introduce each other with more depth than a singular syllable, it’s an opportunity to celebrate their strengths i.e. swap out “This is Yang, she is the nicest woman in our department,” for “This is Yang, she is the brains behind our development plan, her ability to process complex information into digestible concepts is remarkable.”
- Ask about religious or cultural practices that could be considered. i.e. Is there a halal meat option as part of our office catering?
Given the pay gap, It’s not surprising that 64% of women have experienced workplace microaggressions.
Lean In partnered with gender experts from the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab and Paradigm, a diversity and inclusion strategy consulting firm. This collaboration produced Lean In’s Gender Bias Cards, an online resource designed to reveal blind spots to discrimination.
Each card offers actionable advice that can easily be implemented in any workplace. By defining the type of bias and providing situational examples of when discrimination occurs it becomes easier to speak up.
Contact us on MelbourneLeanIn@gmail.com if you would like us to facilitate this workshop or know more about it.
6 TYPES OF BIAS YOU HAVE LIKELY ENCOUNTERED AT WORK**
- Performance Bias.
- Attribution Bias
- Likability Bias
- Maternal Bias
- Affinity Bias
- Double Discrimination & Intersectionality Bias
The workshop revealed shifting demands of women at work and the ways in which these values must be recognised and taken seriously.
“It speaks volumes. when you’re working for a company and you see this inclusion, it makes you proud,” acknowledged a Lean In Melbourne member.
There was a sense of determination and liberation in the room, as women from across the globe shared the weight of bias and vowed to speak up for themselves and others to create a better working world.
“Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, we must take clear steps to counteract it.” Only then can we create workplaces that are both diverse and inclusive.
*names have been left out to protect privacy.
**To learn more about each type of bias, and to access the Lean In Gender Bias cards click on the links below.
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