On my recent trip to Africa, I had the opportunity to talk to some businesswomen, who told me about the problems they faced every day. One of the most important was the persistence of prejudice against women in the workplace, even if it was dominated by women.
Sexual harassment, hostile work environments and subtle biases continue to be obstacles. Women of colour face even more tremendous obstacles to the promotion and, as a result, are even less likely to rise to leadership positions or develop their businesses.
According to a recent article published in Forbes, there are four biases that lead to our gendered workplaces:
Affinity bias: Causes men to prefer to hire, work with, and socialize with other men.
Gender bias: Causes individuals and organizations to prefer to see men in high-profile leadership positions while ignoring or undervaluing women’s contributions.
Out-group bias: Disparaging the difference, leads men to exclude women from informal, career-enhancing networks.
Status quo bias: Expresses a preference for, or greater comfort with, the familiar.
Gender stereotypes trigger prejudices that perpetuate discriminatory mindsets and behaviours, so the time has come to revamp the professional landscape to make it truly inclusive.
But how, when, unfortunately, we all display gender bias to a greater or lesser extent, knowingly or unknowingly?
How can we or our companies be made aware of our unconscious biases when we have even taught our computers to display biases?
Companies must ensure that hiring and promotion processes extend equal opportunities to men and women, for example with a «blind evaluation» or «structured recruitment interviews» to ensure all candidates are evaluated according to relevant and predetermined criteria related to work performance.
What about commercial connections – are they free of bias? I’m afraid not.
The African businesswomen I spoke to told me that they find it very difficult to establish international business connections, especially with the European and U.S. markets. And this is a very important problem because it prevents them from accessing investments or partnerships to solve their business needs.
From Club Impulso, which I lead, we are going to have in September online meetings with businessmen/women and entrepreneurs worldwide to generate points of connection that break these biases and allow us to generate business with African women.
Together we can!
*** BEFORE YOU GO
Quote of the Week: “Believe in yourself. Stay in your own lane. There’s only one you”.- Queen Latifah
The above article is a weekly summary of my thoughts on my work as a connector that is ready for leaders around the world.
You can also enjoy the Let’s Connect Live where I interview business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and inspirational thinkers.
Jose Raul Vaquero is President of the documentalistas.org Foundation and Founder of clubimpulso.net which connects more than 100,000 professionals from 24 countries. For this work, he has been recognized by several governments and organizations. Finally, he’s also the Founder of the Young Politicians of the Americas community.