You might think that the sisterhood has your back, but what if gender bias in the workplace is destroying those relationships? Knowing how to deal with gender bias is something that I wish I had known about years ago. I have worked in many male dominated industries and come up against gender bias many times. I had one of the best podcast chats ever with lawyer and gender bias expert Andie Kramer. She shared so much good advice I’m excited to share it with you.
One of the things that I loved about Andie was the fact that she has been dealing with gender bias her whole life, and has coped with it through humour. So often we think that we have to get angry or challenge the person who is treating us negatively. Andie showed that humour helps to defuse the situation and allows the other person to come to the conclusion that they are behaving badly on their own. This is especially important if you are a freelancer who relies on longterm relationships within small industries.
Download the podcast to listen to all of Andie’s great tips, whether you are employed or a freelancer.
Dealing with gender bias
Knowing that it isn’t you and it is the workplace can really help. Often we enter places or industries that have been set in their ways for decades. Things are changing but it is slow. I was shocked when Andie said that getting equal pay for all is probably going to take another century! Now before that totally depresses you, there are things that we can do.
The first is that organisations need to change. Yes this might take time, but small steps lead to big changes. The second thing is that men need to be brought in as allies. They need to know that they can be on your side, without feeling like the bad guys. The final thing is to think about what you can do as an individual. There are things that we can do ourselves without waiting for anyone else to give us permission.
Some of the things that you could do is to questions the policies that are in place. Does the work place allow for flexitime or offer mentoring across the departments. All of these things help to build an environment of collaboration with people feeling like part of a team.
Andie talked about the huge benefits of peer to peer mentoring with older and younger members of staff working together. I have seen the wonderful results of this on film sets with younger team members shadowing older ones, or older ones learning new skills from the younger members of the team.
Learning what to do about it
Andie writes her books with her husband Al so that they are written from the perspective of both genders. They are something that I am recommending to women of all ages, especially if the sisterhood is letting you down.
In my career as a freelancer I have often come up against other women who would try to hold me back, or sabotage my position. Andie has helped me to see that this wasn’t my fault, but the fault of the workplace, as there was only room for one woman at the table in my position. I’m all for the team, and find it tough when others don’t feel the same way.
Luckily I am thinking the right way and I hope you are too. We need to support our sisterhood and make more places available at the higher tables, so that all women can gain fulfilling careers.
How to build up the sisterhood
Andie gave great advice about what you can do right now to change things. Part of it is personal, and part of it is working within a team. That team might be something that you create yourself outside of working hours, like a mastermind group. Or it might be a way of helping others through peer to peer mentoring.
Have a chat with yourself about what skills you need to build against gender bias. Is it getting a sense of humour about it, or finding work allies?
Think about what you want to accomplish and ask yourself each day what you want and need. Andie said to remember that other people don’t want the same as you, and it is important to remember that when you are striving towards your goals.
The final piece of the puzzle is to look at how you communicate. This is something that I have talked about in my own book, The Business Of Creativity in chapter 1 on confidence. Think about the way that you structure emails, present yourself or ask for things. Andie gives great examples of this towards the end of the podcast.
If you are wondering what you can do next, there is a free workbook for you to download below.
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I also recommend all of Andie’s books which you can buy here: Andie’s books
If you would like to get support with your career I have new slots opening foe mentoring in 2020. You can find out more about it here: Tell me more!