Gender Bias

As far as the biases we are investigating in class, gender bias seems to be the most ingrained in our thoughts and actions. I don’t think people acquire gender biases over time, they probably model after others growing up.  Being unconscious, gender bias makes it more challenging to address and maybe more likely to be overlooked or not taken as a serious issue.

The assignments had the common theme for me of gaining awareness of those actions, micro-aggressions or some other behavior, that treats women as less than equals so that they can be changed.  These may be the most difficult of all to change because they do seem to be predominantly learned from our environments at younger ages. I don’t see people becoming more gender biased as they get older. There are environments, call them locker room environments that allow gender biased language and actions to become normal. Its every leader’s responsibility to make sure they don’t allow that to become part of their organization’s culture.

There is another theme to some of the readings and that is how women who are more assertive or aggressive are viewed negatively and men with the same behaviors are viewed positively. This is a more interesting discussion for me. I believe the studies but wonder how the studies themselves bias us.  The data helps us solve problems and be aware, but it isn’t always true. Sometimes men who are more aggressive are simply viewed as angry and poor leaders and are overlooked for promotions due to their inability to manage them. Some aggressive/assertive women do make it to the top. We should make sure our bias isn’t affecting our decisions, but the generalizations about how men and women are perceived differently can be as bad as the bias if we aren’t careful and aware. If we can treat each person as an individual, regardless of their gender, we should be able to best utilize their skills for the organization, but also avoid gender bias.

Equal but different treatment is always a challenge but one we have to figure out.


2 thoughts on “Gender Bias”

  1. You bring up a good point in the last paragraph that I didn’t consider. There is a bias in everything, and to really break through those and understand the message of anything you will have to know that bias. I just realized that even saying women who act aggressive, but men you act the same, puts the negative on the women. This happens in the statements pointing out the flaw in that logic. I am guilty of using those terms too. I think when women are viewed as aggressive, or assertive, they aren’t really being that, but simply having that label put on them because it is so foreign from our expectations for them. A woman is not likely being aggressive, simply present and focused.

  2. In your statement: “I don’t see people becoming more gender biased as they get older.” I agree, in my lifetime I have seen people become less gender biased. This has been especially true as people have ‘left home’ – or their predetermined opinions and sought to understand the world through their own senses. It is important to understand all humans contribute, our gender only limits our reproductive powers.

    On a separate topic, I have read some articles lately about the balance of responsibility in homes of same sex couples – and they seem to really do a much better job of balancing home responsibilities! Wouldn’t it be fabulous if same sex couples began teaching marriage counseling and work/life balance for all!? Love this idea and the idea of all sharing their lessons learned and what works!

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