Join Lori Mackenzie for an in-depth discussion in this video Intersectionality in the workplace, part of Women Transforming Tech: Breaking Bias.
- One of the challenges of talking about bias is that we have so many parts of our identity. I for example am a woman, I'm Asian, I'm a mother, and so how does bias affect me differently based on all of my status characteristics? And that might be more familiar to you in a term called intersectionality, that tries to look at the intersections of our identities. You think you're looking at someone's talent, their work product, how they're presenting to you, you think you're seeing it for what it is. But what happens is that bias makes that work product, or that presentation look a little bit better, or a little bit worse than it actually is, based on stereotypes, based on characteristics like our gender, our race, our age, where we went to school, where we're from, that makes our work products, our presentations, look a little bit better or a little bit worse than they really are. And so for example, while women might be 21% less likely to get promoted than men to manager, that first-level promotion, black women are 40% less likely to get that first promotion. We also know that women often face a likability penalty, where the stereotype expects women to behave in a very friendly communal way, but when we're expected to lead, to be assertive, present our ideas, it violates that stereotype and people might give us criticism like you're being too assertive, you're too aggressive, you have sharp elbows. So understanding these biases that sometimes the bar might be set higher for us, sometimes when we're acting assertive like we're told to, we might be then criticized for being unliked. And I didn't know that when I entered the workplace and was surprised when for example, I might have shared an idea and it got a really lukewarm response, and then someone else shared the exact same idea and everyone thought it was great, and that's the optical illusion, the exact same presentation can look better or worse. And when we don't realize it, we internalize it, and think maybe I just didn't do a good job. So what we're looking at in the work I do is, how can we help both individuals get across those barriers but how can organizations do better, so women and people of color, people with different status characteristics, don't have to work so hard to have their ideas valued in workplaces. (light music)