In the recruitment world, gender bias is to us what fame is to the Kardashians. It goes hand in hand and after a while it becomes harder to separate truth from fiction. Gender bias, be it unconscious or otherwise is just an aspect of the recruitment process that is as prevalent as how much experience you’ve had or what salary you’re looking for.
Being on the receiving end of a client brief when it becomes increasingly obvious what they are not saying, you take the plunge and ask “would you prefer a female in this role?” The question is often danced around, with a vague-but-telling “we just think a female would fit in better with the team”. We get it. Culture fit. An elusive term that will have to be tackled in another blog….
Gender bias doesn’t discriminate against industries, and without crossing over to the gender gap issue (I’ll save that for Susie’s Weekly Wrap this week) the sporting industry seems to hold up a mirror to gender bias. In recent news that an algorithm has revealed the staggering gender bias in sports journalism showing that female tennis players are more likely to be asked outlandish and irrelevant questions than their male colleagues. Serena Williams, at the end of a long press conference, was asked by a journalist ‘why she wasn’t smiling?’ Eugenie Bouchard was asked to ‘twirl’ at the 2015 Australian Open… to the best of my knowledge this has not been asked of Roger Federer.
Understanding that there is unconscious bias in how we approach almost everything is usually the first step in balancing out our perspective and the bias that comes with it.
Women often find it harder to advance to positions of leadership in their chosen careers. At the same time, with roles that have been traditionally filled by women, there are now some fantastic male candidates that are being overlooked, either because of the job title itself or the team structure. This means that companies miss out on valuable contributions that could have been gained as well as a chance to give their team something that they don’t currently have.
By Jenny McKenna, Rusher Rogers
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