Gender Bias: Two Solutions

July 17, 2018


In a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, Stephen Turban, Laura Freeman, and Ben Waber make their case that gender inequality is not about behavior, but bias. In other words, women are not treated differently in the workplace because of intentional bad behavior, but because of the way the female behavior is “perceived.” This is true even when marketplace female behavior mirrors their male counterparts. This translates into fewer promotions, inequality in pay, and less women at the top of the heap. It’s a fascinating article utilizing groundbreaking techniques in data collection and sorting. I highly recommend the read.


So, what does this HBR research mean to us as women? I keep going back to these two simple, yet powerful thoughts. Two thoughts that if they were to change, they would shift the paradigm of gender bias we all experience and have participated in as women. The first is that we as women need to recognize that we as women do in fact have a bias against our own gender. Basically, we as women are an important key to solving the gender bias problem. Stop! Am I saying men don't need to be responsible or have a gender bias problem? Not at all, but right now I'm speaking to those of us who are female. Recognizing this bias in ourselves  is crucial to making changes not only in the Marketplace, but in every sphere of influence. We need to unify as women, not in an "egg-throwing protester way," but in an "I've got your back and will walk beside you in truth and comradery way."  The second thought is also simple, rather than waiting for the opposite sex or blaming them for not recognizing and celebrating the power of women, we need to stand up and become the best in our class, so to speak, as women.  Best in conflict resolution, communication, self-awareness, in social skills, in rational thinking, in time management, etc.  When we do these two things, we will be an unstoppable force (again, not in an egg-throwing protester way) but in a way that says we not only deserve a seat at the table, we've earned it . . . Together!


Want to change gender bias? Simple, start with yourself and the women around you. Start having open conversations regarding the biases we all have and experience. Currently, I have the honor of connecting with five successful and powerful women every month for a roundtable. Whenever I’ve mentioned our group to other women, the response is almost always the same or similar, "Well, I wouldn’t want to be part of a whiny, bitch session." Ugh! I always respond with me neither...nor am I. "Ugh" doesn’t even begin to cover the gender bias I hear in those types of statements. I could go on and on with other examples . . . but the truth is we need to stop it, hold each other accountable, and see beyond our own gender bias . . . against ourselves, our co-workers, our daughters, our sisters, our granddaughters.


So again, where do we start? Right here, right now . . . Share your thoughts. Your ideas. What are some of the gender biases you have against females that need to go? How have you successfully worked with women? And what have you found that created high functioning teams with women as an integral part? We need to start having the conversation . . . be a part of the change!


Full HBR article:




Barbara E Hogan

Barbara Hogan is the Founder, CEO, and President of Timbelo, Inc., a woman-owned, WBENC / SBA 8(m) certified company specializing in business strategy and culture. Barbara is also co-owner of Afidence, a local award winning IT company, with her husband, Bryan. Other experience includes strategic marketing, project management, business development, training, customer service, and office management. Barbara is also an Ordained Sr. Chaplain with the IFOC and has held other leadership positions in various ministries and boards across the Cincinnati/Dayton corridor.


Barbara has a compelling passion for impacting others and improving lives. Whether in the realm of her personal or professional life there is no distinction—people are important. She has a strong sense of integrity, bold thought leadership, and deep respect for others.

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