Wednesday, 4 September 2013

5 things we could do today to reduce our bias.

Unconscious bias is alive and well.  We all have it so there's no point in denying it.  However we can make changes through self awareness and noticing our behaviour. 

We as a species, in the 21st century, have unconscious bias towards women as leaders.  It's true talking about it highlights this issue.  The only way of tackling it is by noticing it.  Therefore we can't eliminate it until we deal with it.  There aren't enough people yet aware of how it affects behaviour in the home and at work.  

I know I'm an optimist however realistically with the right momentum and interest I believe we can reach that tipping point sooner if we all take action.  

So how do we do it?

1. Get Assertive at home.  We need to identify our biases at home with our partners to create equality in the household and in parenting.  

2. Have awareness at work.  We may not be able to change other people's behaviour but we can change our own.  If we notice behaviour as bias, we stop blaming ourselves for not being heard and build positive beliefs.  Desire overcomes fear.  Once we increase our awareness about bias it helps us choose our reactions and our belief systems more wisely. This is not an excuse for a blame cycle but with acknowledgement we can then influence more effectively. 

3. Watch your language.  Aim to address your own biases about other women and other people who go against the norm.  Notice what you are saying to yourself and challenge it.  Be positive about other women. Remember the Madeleine Albright quote "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women".  Don't be that woman! 

4. Be a sponsor and advocate.  In the pub, in a meeting and at home, listen to women, don't shrug them off.  Also support and praise women rather than say negative comments about them.  

5. Develop friendships with people who are different.  Most of us have friends that compliment and are different from us.  Have a look at your circle of friends - is there anyone you don't include because they're different?  Be brave and find people who look different to you and have different views.  

There are so many proactive things we can do to bring diversity into our lives and develop awareness in our beliefs and language patterns.  What one thing could you do differently in the next week?

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