We are all biased
Do you notice the amount of biased decisions you make every day? Probably not. Our brains need to divide the world into simple categories e.g. male-female, black-white, young-old in order to process information and make decisions. These categories are historically embedded and create a foundation for unconscious bias. This affects our decision making, and prevents us from evaluating people equally.
When it comes to gender equality and bias, Professor Sara Louise Muhr says:
“The scientific conclusion is crystal clear. The way leaders recruit and promote employees is affected by gender stereotypes which cause us to evaluate males as better leaders than females. We all do this, unconsciously and all the time – even I do, in spite the fact that I have worked in this field for many years.”
To improve the gender diversity in our organizations we need to abandon the myths about equality, free choice, and meritocracy. If we are to acknowledge the large amount of scientific research in the field of gender equality, we also need to acknowledge the fact that we do not have equality as of today. We need to view women’s – and men’s – choices as shaped by stereotypical expectations. This means, that the meritocracy is an illusion and competencies and results do not objectively determine who has the power. Thus, implementing initiatives to promote female leaders, is not discrimination against male leaders, but a way to equalize the discrimination we see in management and boardrooms today.