We know gender bias exists, especially in business. It’s a real thing. Women have been fighting against the effects of these biases in corporate America, specifically for decades. There has been progress, and many industries, including technology and insurance, which are close to my heart, are slowly making strides to level the playing field for all participants. However, what do we do in the meantime? An online article published by CNBC Make It states that “the share of women as tech CEOs jumped from 3.9% in 2020 to 10.9% in 2021,” but that same article also cites a projection of twelve years for women to reach parity in the tech industry (Liu). What if a woman doesn’t want to wait twelve more years for the powers that be in the tech space to progress enough to provide equal pay and opportunity for women? How can she use what she knows about gender bias to navigate a system that she knows is working against her? I would tell that woman, “You can still play the game. As a matter of fact, you can GSD the game—and WIN!”
There are some common occurrences and shared experiences by women looking to advance professionally that we can use to help us avoid certain bias-related obstacles. It’s something women have been doing for years–creating and finding “work-arounds”. It sounds simple in theory, but the execution is where it can get complicated. Honestly, if you’re a woman in any industry, you’re probably already doing this, but there are women who have actually researched and developed formal methods to help you do so. For example, Fotini Iconomopoulos, an expert in negotiation, communication and leadership and teacher at Schulich School of Business in Toronto, lists one of her favorite communication tips for women in business as the art of asking questions rather than making direct statements. Insurancebusinessmag.com asserts that this technique forces your audience to make their own “conclusions without bruising their ego or giving away your power” (Hendry). Is it unfortunate that women have to create techniques to avoid being unfairly judged or misunderstood? Yes, but we are masters at working around problems. We think outside the box. We are solutionists. We GSD day in and day out with work and family. We wear lots of hats. Why not use that mastery to thrive and excel even when the odds are stacked against us?
Hendry, Mallory. “Looking gender bias straight in the eye,” Insurance Business America.
https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/looking-gender-bias-straight-in-the-eye-308351.aspx?utm_source=GA&utm_medium=20210830&utm_campaign=IBAW-Newsletter-20210830&utm_content=C47221A1-95AC-4FC0-953B-84ECFC07D4FF&tu=C47221A1-95AC-4FC0-953B-84ECFC07D4FF 30 August 2021.
Liu, Jennifer. “15 of the top companies for women working in tech,” CNBC Make It.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/28/anitaborg-womens-representation-in-tech-is-down-during-the-pandemic.html?utm_medium=email&_hsmi=169740438&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9TR3JyHLaWEW2AT5TEEoxGjPWjd1Y4ntLoelgbz7amQRoTjstEac5a4pN7rHrY9HvEpPw5WsCIeHKy5HyXYSmP_A6STrdjFFRxiiGB5GJi-P1X9NI&utm_content=169740438&utm_source=hs_email 28 September 2021.