The 2022 theme of International Women’s Day is ‘#BreaktheBias’. As part of our support for our female colleagues and International Women’s Day, we hosted a Learning & Development session on Unconscious Bias, a section of which focused on gender bias – an issue that affects women in the workplace.
Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, is what happens when we act on subconscious, deeply ingrained biases, stereotypes and attitudes formed from our experiences, upbringing and environment. If you act on your gut instincts or assumptions, there is a chance you’re opening yourself up to unconscious bias.
During yesterday’s session, people were asking how they could make a difference, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. The good news is we collated five things from the session that you can do right now to overcome unconscious bias and support women on International Women’s Day:
- Acknowledge your bias
Unconscious biases can influence all of us, affecting our decisions and actions. Just starting to be open to the idea that you are biased is a step in the right direction.
- Slow down
Start paying attention to how you make decisions. Are you giving more attention to those who look like you in terms of age, gender, race or academia? Are you being exclusive in any way? Give yourself the time to make ‘conscious’ decisions rather than decisions based on your unconscious thoughts.
- Consider from other perspectives
Fair treatment and respect for others should be a given, but we can all (unintentionally) forget to consider others in the heat and pressure of daily life. Consider the impact of your decisions and how it could make others feel.
- Mind your words and phrases
Change your lens when it comes to your language and phrases. If you are not sure how someone would like to be addressed or whether you are using the right language, it is best to ask rather than assume.
- Speak up
Speaking up should be seen and intended as an opportunity to learn new behaviours. Identify when you, or your colleagues, might be making decisions based on unconscious bias. Ask yourself if it is better to address the issue in private.
This is an exciting time to change the landscape for equality, but it won’t be without its challenges. We are working on forging a new and more diverse future at Acteon and want to bring all our people on the journey with us.