A rant against gender bias wherever it appears

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Today, I'm on a rant against gender bias (wherever it appears.)

Personally, I have always likened gender bias to bullying and for my entire long (so far) life, I have fought against bullies.

It is not just enough for the victim, usually female, but sometimes not, to stand up and resist. We, who are bystanders to the bullying, must speak up and act up to tell the perpetrator it is wrong and we do not want to tolerate it.

I defy any man in today's business world to tell us he has NEVER witnessed gender bias. Some guys will claim ignorance, saying, "Oh, it was just a joke, an effort to make her 'one of the guys,' and he didn't really think she was a b____." Deep down, we all know it when we see it and most of us feel a little (or a lot) uncomfortable when we witness it, but our own fear keeps us from speaking out.

Today, I challenge all Cove readers to stand up and be counted. Sometimes, we have to go so far as to prefer charges and bear witness, but in the long run, the world will be a better place.

Here's an article on just one aspect of gender bias to get you thinking about the subtle and not so subtle examples you witness on a regular basis. Will you have the courage to be counted?


Involved In Discussions
Very true, Wes. I am often the only woman involved in a project in a very male dominated field (engineering in the automotive world - and program manager to boot). I try to practice what the article says to do every time I'm in a situation where it is a conference room full of men and me. I try my hardest to learn as much about the project and matter at hand, so when I offer my opinion I'm usually taken seriously. Also, I've been in this position since I was small, working on cars with my dad. I don't let it bother me much anymore - I've learned to be confident and stand my ground when need be. I've been fortunate with my co-workers and customers in this aspect.


Here's a really small-seeming simple one that I see quite often -- automatically asking the woman at the meeting to take notes.
Don't get me wrong, there are certain people who are better at taking notes, and sometimes those people are women. But when a meeting needs a note-taker, and the group automatically turns to one of the women in the room (every time), you're devaluing her abilities and knowledge of the issue at hand. I'm personally of the opinion that either everyone takes their own notes, or you specifically bring in a secretary/assistant. I have seen situations where the (female) COO is designated the note-taker. Unacceptable. And unless people who manage meetings are aware that they often do this, and consciously choose not to, it will continue to happen. If anyone in that room is so unimportant to the discussion that you can delegate them to record the things that no one bothers to remember, then you probably should not have invited them.


I've worked my entire professional life in quality roles in manufacturing. It has not always been easy, so I have attempted to really do my homework and know my stuff, so in the end they have no choice but to take me seriously. In addition, I've always supported and encouraged other women in the workplace. We know it can sometimes be difficult - the nature of the beast at times. By looking out for one another and supporting each other, we can gradually improve things.


Thanks all the previous posters for their great examples.
I am thankful for the laws that are in place (at least here in UK) to protect against discrimination, however, it is still happening albeit under the pretence of 'communication issues' or 'interpersonal skills' or <insert any other silly excuse>.
The CV (or 'Resume') has undergone massive changes for the better over the last 10 years. The questions I used to get asked in my interviews in 1990's being a woman would shock the socks off today's girls :(

My biggest thanks go to Marc for his leadership and inspiration here on the forum and also to the other Covers - I've never seen a forum so professional and full of genuine helpful people. You guys rule!:agree1:
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