Gender does not play a role in a person’s ability to run a business. At least, that’s what a 2015 Pew Research Report says. In fact not only do men and women both agree that gender doesn’t matter, but 31 percent said female executives would be more honest and ethical than male executives, and 30 percent said more female leaders would increase the quality of life for women in the country.
So why then, do females lead only 25 of the Fortune 500 companies? The reason may lie in bias and predetermined stereotypes. While large companies have publicly proclaimed a greater effort towards recruiting a diverse workforce, there are issues of bias and a misunderstanding of diversity that still persist among corporations.
As the study dug deeper, it found that a significant portion of respondents felt that men would do a better job leading tech, oil and gas and finance companies. Not only that but most people questioned in the survey believed it was easier for men to get top positions in business and politics. Even in 2015, unconscious bias showing women in a homemaker role on television and the belief that businesses aren’t ready to hire women for top jobs still pervades.
Women are making inroads, but several roadblocks remain. Many women believe there’s a double standard in the workplace, and that women have to outshine men in the workplace without looking over eager. The concept of bias exists with regards to the familial life as well; women still believe they are judged differently in the interview process when speaking of their family as compared to their male co-workers.
With bias and diversity in the workplace still a problem, there are a few major companies like Google that have publicly identified their shortcomings in the topic and are working to change the problem. To combat bias in the interview process, many companies have stripped names and other identifying information so every candidate has a fair shot in the process.
Companies could also follow the models of both Roche Diagnostics and Royal Bank of Canada, who have put measures in both their recruitment processes and internal employee communications. What did these companies do that other companies could follow?
- Hold multiple bias acquaintance sessions with senior and middle managers to make leadership more aware of unconscious bias
- Review the recruitment processes and see where possible gaps in diversity lie. Offer career path opportunities for minorities and female employees
- Develop better maternity and paternity benefits to attract a bigger pool of candidates
- Create workshops and build tests to help employees understand what bias is and become aware of it
The FairWords’ Difference
As a committed advocate for inclusion in the workplace, FairWords understands the need to educate those about bias in the workplace. An educated workforce is an inclusive workforce, and an inclusive workforce breeds innovation as people become aware of how stereotyping negatively affects the office life. What programs does your company implement in order to prevent bias? Have you ever been a victim of unconscious bias? What was your company's response?
Learn more about how FairWords promotes equality, inclusion, and diversity: http://www.fairwords.co/offer