We are all biased – it is a basic human trait necessary for survival so that we recognize our tribe, our peeps, and avoid the enemy. However unchecked and unconscious bias creates unfair judgements and endemic prejudice stifling opportunities for both individuals and organizations.
Unconscious or implicit bias is at play when we evaluate people and situations using our instincts developed after years of stereotyping learned from and reinforced by the society around us. When we see the color of someone’s skin, hear their voice and accent, or observe their gestures, for example, our minds quickly seek to make sense of it all by slotting them into specific profiles or roles. We have all made those mistakes!
When it comes to gender, women are frequently and automatically labeled with characteristics and behaviors that are ‘female’. And more often these are considered negative – see The Different Words We Use to Describe Male and Female Leaders by David G. Smith, Judith E. Rosenstein, Margaret C. Nikolov (Harvard Business Review May 2018).
Join WEST in Cambridge on October 23rd to learn about and reflect on our own socialized stereotypes and biased behaviors and discuss strategies to help us tame our unconscious reactions and influence others to do the same.