Ways to overcome gender bias in the corporate world
By BuildMyBiz on March 6th, 2015
Entrepreneurs have many obstacles to overcome. However, for women business owners, those challenges may be exacerbated by gender bias and sexism. Despite the increase in women’s involvement in the workplace over the past few decades, female employees may still face discrimination.
Gender biases and why they still exist
Patricia Nakache, a female entrepreneur and partner of Trinity Ventures in Silicon Valley, spoke at length with Fast Company about gender bias. She said both men and women face biases in business, including age and background discrimination. These stereotypes are encouraged by pattern recognition, according to Nakache. In the past, men have been dominant in the business field. Since many employers are used to recognizing men in those roles, they are inclined to choose men over women to fill vacant roles.
Women have worked to find strategies to overcome these biases. Nakache said female leaders traditionally look for role models or coaches to help them develop and gain confidence.
“It says, ‘I am investing in myself because I’m not perfect, and want to be better at what I do,'” she told the source.
Nakache highlighted how successful women entrepreneurs have a remarkable trait – they are commonly better than men in focusing on the product and how it fits in the market. They often have the ability to determine whether or not they’re offering something consumers actually want and to adapt to the environment. Women need to focus on showing off strengths like this to compete with the stereotypes they face.
Ways to overcome challenges in the workplace
There are many ways to combat gender bias in the workplace. According to a blog post by Jonathan Segal, an employment law specialist for the Duane Morris Institute, supervisors and executives need to work to get women more involved with company boards. Having women in executive roles shows that the enterprise appreciates their talents. It also provides role models to aspiring businesswomen, who need to know that it’s possible to reach the top of the corporate ladder.
Inc. recommended ditching meek ways of apologizing and asking for permission. Women may be prone to apologizing when they don’t need to. For example, when asking a question in a meeting, it’s common for female staff members to say “I’m sorry” before getting to the query.
Another mistake women often make is waiting to become experts before moving into a new position, according to Inc. While men often have the attitude that they’ll figure out the role once they’re in it, some women fear even approaching it until they have all the skills necessary.
Getting rid of these biases is a challenge, but once people become more aware of them, they will be easier to point out and extinguish.
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