“I’ve seen women excluded from roles because ‘this is a male dominated sector and clients prefer to deal with men’ or ‘if it’s a woman she can’t be too young’. I’ve seen women who are the targets of bias respond in ways that are completely fair and appropriate but who are then branded as ’emotional’ or otherwise incapable of managing the corporate culture, and the negative impact this has had on career development..
What if you could take complete control of all of these gender bias situations and others, without offending the perpetrator, being perceived as an agitator, playing the gender ‘card’ or in worst case scenarios putting your job at risk? And better still, leverage the fringe benefits of leadership and self-determination in the process. There is a way. Use these three powerful words:
I DON’T UNDERSTAND (or “It doesn’t make sense to me”)
The key to leveraging these three words in navigating sensed gender bias is to turn the statement into a question: “I don’t understand?” This tone and line of questioning will invoke the ‘coach’ or ‘teacher’ role in the unconscious perpetrator and in the course of their elaboration, coaching or teaching: the bias or lack thereof will eventually call itself out.