The latest Girls Club event was also at Trunk on Sunday 5 May, and we were so happy to see both new and old faces joining us!
The Theme: Gender Bias
Before the event, all we asked is that everyone watched the Create a Level Playing Field video:
It features Professor Shelley Correll, who talks through some surprising errors in decision-making that many of us make – men and women alike – which cause us to favour men over women in certain situations.
Next, we went through the 6 solutions that Correll suggests to help us overcome biases:
- Educate – Think about when you might be using gender stereotypes as a cognitive shortcut, and try to see it in others too. Talk about it.
- Establish clear criteria – By setting the criteria for judgments up-front, you are less likely to use a gender stereotype to judge who is “better for the job” or “deserves this promotion”, etc. You have to judge them on their merits, rather than your subconscious stereotypes.
- Scrutinise your criteria – Think about your criteria, and who it’s potentially blocking out or discriminating against. You might have a job ad that requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. Would someone without a bachelors degree be absolutely unable to do this job? Is it a worthwhile requirement?
- Hold decision makers accountable – Get people to explain their decisions. What’s the real reason they aren’t promoting that excellent female project manager to a senior position? What criteria are they using for the decision?
- Transparency in promoting & hiring – When you are making a judgment, talk your decision through out-loud to someone else. You don’t think that woman should be a team leader because she is too pushy? Is that really why you don’t want her to be a leader? If she was male, would you still characterise her as “pushy”?
- Vouch for women leaders’ competence – This is something we want you to try and do – tomorrow! Or today! Vouch for a woman leader. Heck, vouch for a female friend. And, if you go to say something negative about a female this week, try to put the brakes on and say something positive about a female instead. A little bit of positive reviewing can go a long, long way. Tell us in the comments – who do you want to vouch for?
Thinking About Gender Bias in Our Lives
After recapping the video and the 6 solutions, everyone showed interest in knowing what everyone else does for a living, and what their work situations are like. We shared our situations and experiences, and then we discussed how our gender had influenced our career paths.
From tales of positive, mostly-female workplaces, to tales of leaving the world of IT because the stereotyping was so bad… it is always fascinating to hear other people’s experiences and about what they’ve been through, and the decisions they’ve made (and what they think about it now).
We also shared some articles, and briefly discussed these:
- New Study Exposes Gender Bias in Tech Job Listings
- Naive to think gender equality possible in Parliament: women’s minister
- Discuss: To Bake or Not to Bake (What do you think? Leave a comment!)
(Addendum: No Rant Zone!)
A friend didn’t come to this event (we found this out later) because they thought, with a topic like “Gender Bias,” that there might be angry rants about bias and sexism and an unfair system.
But for the record, there wasn’t any ranting! We really want the club to be positive; it’s about females supporting females, and how this can significantly improve things for everyone. So please, if you think Girls Club isn’t for you because there might be angry rants, please reconsider!
Thank you for coming and for caring about each other: Jude, Serena, Andrea, Kat, Tegan, Jess, Gabriela and Tessa, who has a writeup of the event on her blog, Silence Without. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Our next event is on Sunday 2 June, and the topic is Self Love. We’ll send out more information soon, but it will be about self-esteem, self-worth, your value as a person, and loving yourself.
Heads Up – “Lean In” Book
Oh yes, and just a reminder: in October, we will be discussing the Lean In book.
So if you’re interested, order it now and get reading… it might seem like a long time away, but we all know October will be here before we know it!