As a default design, human brains are crafted and evolved with unconscious cognitive biases–which allows people to learn & operate faster, to adapt in a highly competitive environment where survival is the first priority. However, nowadays, maintaining this setting as ancient times has weakened our ability to perceive the world subjectively if we don’t train ourselves to evolve.
Notably, there are 4 kinds of cognitive bias related to gender equity, according to our speaker David Smith:
- “Prove it again” bias, which means women in their leadership, managerial or technical roles are not assumed as competent at the workplace, or their competences get devalued or underscored by the decision makers which are mostly composed by males today, thus women have been constantly asked to prove their competence.
- Agency–the leadership style bias–namely, if women lead in a typically “masculain” way which demonstrate assertion or influence power in a directive manner instead of a “feminine”way, which is more participative or collaborative, there’s high chance that she would get labeled as “Bossy” or been criticized as lacking strong leader material. On the contrary, male leaders enjoy more flexibility when it comes to leadership style.
- Maternal wall or Pregnancy bias–Seen women as caregivers and nurturers as a stereotype, female employees sometimes even encounter pay penalty either due to inferior performance or by the fact they disconnect with work for a while if they decide to get pregnant or have maternity leave.
- Intersectionality bias–Seen women of different color, ethnicity or region as a different group, holds conservative perspectives and finds it difficult to bond or connect with them, somewhat termed as “Monolith”
All the above biases chronically create psychological damage and create systemic inequities like gender wage gap or lack of representation for women in the workforce. Sometimes it seems out of a good purpose, as our speaker Daniela Riccardi told us her experience, the so-called “protectionism” that men have presumptions of women’s situations and decide the best solution for women instead of consulting her. It looks like a “gentlemen” gesture but actually women’s opinion is not heard as an equal participant.