It's been one year since the lockdowns started. Time flies. Or for others, it has been a long and arduous 12 months. In many countries, women, especially working mothers, have taken on the burden of caregiving and overall house management. This means that many women are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than men. Sad. At Xeneta, we celebrate our women and create policies and processes that enable women to have it all: family AND career.
I love that this year's International Women's Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge. We all must choose to challenge gender bias and inequality and together we can create a more inclusive society. It isn't just for women to choose to challenge. It's also for men to support and challenge the status quo.
In this case, with status quo, I refer to the unconscious bias of women in the workplace. This is prevalent in the technology and shipping industry. Some may or may not agree with unconscious bias. You can call it what you like, but bias in the workplace exists. We all fall into the trap. I choose to challenge in this blog post and bring to light what some may think, but no one likes to talk about. Let me break it down for you.
Common Types of Bias Against Women at Work
Content & Imagine from Leanin.org. CLICK TO ENLARGE.
We have all fallen into one of the traps above (women and men).
Here is a common situation. How would you respond?
"You’re on a review committee and several members argue against a woman’s promotion because she is not “seen as a leader,” even though her team delivers outstanding results."
What you can do
Point out that the woman’s team delivers superb results, and suggest that their performance speaks to her leadership. You can also ask them to explain the attributes she lacks. When people are asked to justify their thinking, it can help reduce bias in decision-making.*
There is one thing to identify and there is another thing to take action and choose to challenge the bias.
When bias against women at work happens, there are number of ways you can respond:
Speak up for someone in the moment
Ask a probing question
Stick to the facts
Explain how bias is in play
Advocate for policy or process change
At Xeneta, variety and fairness is one of our values. Yes, nowadays many companies have this as a value, but is it really practiced?
Everyone is free to apply and be fairly considered to be one of our colleagues. We allow no elitism that prevents anyone from fully contributing to the company with their knowledge and skills. We welcome differing points of view and take the time to understand the other side. Our varied backgrounds lead to creative and improved solutions to our problems and our customers’ challenges.
Last year, at Xeneta we started the Women in Xeneta circle. We are committed to have women help each other, come together to share experiences, struggles, get advice and support on a variety of topics. The group meets quarterly and depending on the topic, monthly. We can't wait for today's meet up!
Equality must be a business priority in all industries. It is time that all businesses take the responsibility and step up and lead with example to drive a new and better future for everyone in the workplace. #ChooseToChallenge.
*Content from LeanIn.org
Katherine Barrios is the Chief Marketing Officer at Xeneta