June 4, 2019 Julie Weinberg

Advice for Women: Dealing with Unconscious Bias

Ever feel like someone else is evaluating you based on what they see without knowing your whole story? That’s the result of a bias, and while many of us think we can be objective, we all have some unconscious bias influencing our actions. During a recent Auxin workshop led by Erika Walker of The Walker Thomas Group and Rick Harris of RJ Harris & Associates, we learned about the challenge of unconscious bias, particularly for women.

It’s hard to ignore the reality of this issue when you look at the numbers Walker presented:

  • 24 of Fortune 500 executives are women
  • Highest paid female CEO earns $31.3 million
  • Highest paid male CEO earns $103.2 million

In addition to the obvious disparities of pay and promotion, women face a variety of inequities that come as a result of unconscious bias. For example, a woman may see someone else receive credit for an idea she had already shared, find herself overlooked when others are making introductions or even hear her name mispronounced.

So what can women do about it? Walker and Harris offered many suggestions including increasing your exposure to key individuals in executive circles, asking for feedback to determine areas needing improvement and finding a sponsor who can advocate for you. Above all, Walker said, “You need to cultivate your authentic self. Figure it out in your quiet time.” That’s valuable advice for anyone.