Do you feel that gender bias has kept you from advancing in your career or business? Gender bias is favoritism towards or prejudice against a particular gender. If you’ve ever felt weighed down by a glass ceiling (a barrier to advancement that affects mostly women and minorities), you know what I’m talking about.
Most women are aware that there is a gender pay gap, and men make more money than women do, often for the same services rendered. I’m not going to present statistics of how this is the case. Rather, my blog discusses how to recognize gender bias and empower you IF you feel that you’re experiencing it.
I also write this blog in the context and belief that most men are nice guys, not jerks. They are decent people who want the best for their wives, daughters, moms, nieces, etc. In fact, I know many men who are ashamed of their gender’s treatment of women over the years. Shame is not a healthy dynamic either, but the point is, most men care.
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Recognizing Gender Bias & What to Do About It
Each of us grew up in a household where our parents brought forth their beliefs from their parents’ beliefs and influence. How we think is a product of past generations of our family as well as our societal beliefs that aren’t often questioned. We just think, “Oh well, that’s how it’s always been.”
Men adopt certain roles and identities of what they should be responsible for. Typically, men feel comfortable in the arena of earning and protecting. Women adopt roles and responsibilities as well. They are often in charge of the household, their children, food preparation, emotional nurturing, etc.
Assigning certain roles and responsibilities to men and women based on their sex can feel like being pigeonholed and stereotyped.
Stereotyping: Based on the gender roles and identities described above, sometimes men assume that they are more capable and competent than women. What can you control about this fact? Nothing. People will always bring their beliefs with them, including you.
I’m not suggesting that stereotyping is right and that we shouldn’t try to upgrade our society’s or company’s culture and consciousness. If our head leaders support this lack of emotional intelligence, then crap is going to roll downhill.
TIP #1: Keep showing up as your most talented and best self. Let them have their opinions. You don’t have to internalize their beliefs and believe that you’re less competent. Instead, believe you are enough, and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Microaggressive Comments: Sometimes men make subtle or indirect comments or actions that undermine a woman’s authority or competence. They do this from a place of insecurity, doubt, and fear. It has NOTHING to do with YOU.
I recognize that it doesn’t make it any less painful or awkward for you, though. You may not like what I’m about to say next. Everything is made of energy and has a vibration to it. Some women (and men) have these invisible signs on them that say, “Kick me. Attack me. I’m not lovable!”
This energy gathers from the time you’re a kid until now, and it comes from limiting, harmful beliefs. In order to stop this energy emitting from you, that settles on you dust, you want to change how you see yourself.
See yourself as someone deserving love, respect, attention and care. When you become your own best friend, you’ll notice how others treat you differently. You’ll also stand up for yourself much more readily. You can use EFT or many other techniques to help reprogram your beliefs.
TIP #2: Once you begin to see yourself in a new light (or whenever you’re ready), if someone should say something to undermine your competence, call them on it right on the spot, “Ouch. I felt disrespected and hurt by your comment. I’d appreciate it if you no longer talk to me like that.”
I realize setting boundaries like this takes courage which comes with time as you do your inner work.
Tokenism: Treating women as “tokens” rather than as full members of a team or organization is another form of gender bias. Tokenism is putting on a facade or appearance of respect and equality
Can you tell when others are faking it with you? They might say all the right things, but something feels incongruent. You can tell that they don’t really resonate or connect with you.
Many people have pleasing tendencies. We want others to like us so much that we betray ourselves. If we don’t feel significant within ourselves, we allow others to disrespect us and treat us like a doormat.
TIP #3: If you feel as though you’re being treated like a “token,” and your opinions aren’t seriously considered as part of the team, gather the courage to speak up and confront the issue.
Speaking up is scary, but when you advocate for yourself, you’ll gain confidence and self-respect, which will translate into receiving the respect of others.
2 More Tips to Overcome Gender Bias
Having a solid core of support around you, not going it alone, will give you more courage and confidence to stand up to bullying, and passive-aggressive, manipulative behavior. United you conquer, divided you fall.
TIP #5: Don’t try to convince anyone of your achievements and accolades to be considered worthy and deserving. Know yourself. You know who you are and what you stand for. That is enough.
When you are tuned in to your intuition, it’s like you have a grounding cord into the earth. You won’t be knocked over by gender bias or anything else. Remember that.
If you’re experiencing gender bias through stereotyping, microaggressive comments, or tokenism, you’ve got the power to overcome it by reprogramming limiting beliefs about yourself. Realize that when others mistreat you, it’s all about THEIR insecurity.
If you take it personally and internalize their message in a way that harms you because you make it mean “I’m not good enough, lovable enough,” now their behavior is about you. You’ve energetically and subconsciously sent the message that you’re susceptible to mistreatment.
The way to combat this is to build a shield around you of self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth that only depends on your efforts. In other words, keep showing up as your best self, speak your truth in the moment by calling others out, and confront issues of disrespect.
Surround yourself with a few good allies. Don’t try to convince others of your worth. See it yourself FIRST, and others will fall in line.
Call to Action: In a few days, the next cohort for Mental Fitness for Intuitive Women Leaders begins. Join this group of women who are standing up for themselves and putting gender bias behind them.