There is a large and unanimous body of academic research: there are many unconscious obstacles to women’s careers. Even if you respect all the rules of the good student (show confidence, take risks, value your successes, develop your network), it is also possible that you simply do not give them the same advancement opportunities. We are not talking here of voluntary discrimination but of “unconscious prejudice”. Our brains play tricks on us when it comes to making certain decisions when hiring, evaluating work or even during promotions. Who are these unconscious prejudices? The UNCONSCIOUS BIAS TRAINING prepares you for the answers.
What are we talking about through unconscious bias?
This intellectual faculty is necessary. We could not consciously make decisions about every detail of our daily life. These reflexes allow us time for anything that requires our attention and conscious decision-making.
But at other times, these shortcuts are the cause of our unconscious bias. Without even realizing it – and this is one of the key elements – we will make rapid and unconscious associations but, in these cases, to the disadvantage of disadvantaged groups (women, cultural minorities, overweight people, older people).
So when the time comes to fill a position, our brain tends to favor what it knows (the famous fact that we look for when recruiting a candidate). We want to hire people who look like us. This is all the more true when the role is one of leadership.
Decision makers are more likely to take a risk by choosing an approach that departs from their own. They will therefore choose – unconsciously – what resembles the leadership which reassures them. Leadership they know. These prejudices perpetuate a certain profile of candidates for leadership positions.
What consequences do unconscious bias have during a career?
The famous glass ceiling is a direct consequence of unconscious prejudices. More women are attending university in many areas. They have the same academic skills as men. They generally obtain without too much difficulty executive positions at the first levels, but the higher one goes up the hierarchy, the less their application is retained.
Given this reality, we could conclude that fewer women are interested in leadership positions. However, a survey by Effect A (commissioned in 2016) indicates just the opposite. Women say they are as ambitious as men. However, they feel that their skills are less easily recognized, that they have fewer advancement opportunities, that their successes go unnoticed.
Faced with these obstacles in their professional progression, women decide to leave the ship. Or even to withdraw themselves. They renounce their ambitions. It is a loss both for these professionals and for businesses. Indeed, studies have shown that greater diversity in business increases their performance at all levels (creativity, profitability, search for solutions).
Who has unconscious biases?
All of us, women and men. It must be understood that these unconscious prejudices are not the prerogative of men towards women. Women also have these same biases towards the female gender.
We have all been socialized, educated in a way that makes us associate certain roles or behaviors (empathy, leadership, emotionality) with a gender.