Do you suffer from unconscious gender bias? Not sure? Here are 4 signs that you might…

Let’s begin by coming to an understanding of unconscious bias — what is it and how does it exclude?

Unconscious bias, according to social scientists, is a leaning or favoring toward a group, person or thing over another. It is something that we are not aware of, can happen without much forethought, even automatically and, can reflect very deep-seated and negative feelings toward that person, group or thing.

Research shows that unconscious biases develop early in life, and can be shaped by several factors — environmental, societal, institutional. Biases — good and bad shape the people we become and the way we behave in the world.

Unconscious bias takes aim at gender, sexual identity/orientation, race, religion, culture, and age. Here we want to look at gender bias. By answering yes to any of these questions, you’ll know if stereotyping is getting the better of you.

When you walk into an office for the first time and you encounter a woman, do you say? You’re the receptionist, right? There you go, you’ve got it — unconscious bias of the visual variety.

When you send a team email to update colleagues about a meeting or decision, do you find yourself saying after you hit the “Send” button: “Oops, I forgot to cc her on the mail. Oh yah, an example of bias by exclusion.

Have you ever made this type of blunder? “No, I’m pretty sure it was Tom’s idea, not Jane’s to use a link algorithm.” Caught you again, bias by lack of recognition.

And, when you want to get together with members of the team, do you extend the invitation like this? “Dude, let’s grab a beer. Okay, you’ve nailed it now, bias by gender isolation. If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, then you’re a victim of unconscious gender bias.

So okay, now that you’ve dis’d 51% of the population what can you do? Don’t despair, all is not lost…this is fixable. Here’s one way that you may be able to begin to shape your thoughts and action a bit more inclusively: join the Focus on Insight (FoI) Challenge. This month’s e-learning topic is Gender Intelligence. During this insightful and thought provoking session we will examine how unconscious gender bias creeps into our thought processes and in our team interactions, often to the detriment of a collaborative and innovative team experience. We can’t promise that all your biases will immediately disappear and never resurface. But we can promise that you will probably think a bit more carefully and introspectively as a result of what you learn.