Women from the Cambridge Judge community talk about the bias they’ve faced, and how that bias can be broken
Being the only women in the room
Being a woman you are confronted to bias all the time. It’s being the only woman in the room, and people assume that you are the one making coffee because you are a woman. It’s being denied the access to the boardroom when the person who was holding the position before you got access to it because it was a man.
As an Asian woman who’s been living in the West many times over the last decade, the most recurring bias I face is when people easily assume that I don’t speak English well enough to have proper discussion and conversation with. And this actually translates further to deeper assumptions that I may not have enough capabilities to be a well-versed and relevant individual in this world.
A very defining experience in terms of bias for me was when I was trying to pivot from strategy consulting into sales, and technology sales to be specific. And considering that both of these arenas are very male-oriented, not just in India, but in the world at large. This was when I experienced quite a lot of hiring bias.
Work around caregiving responsibilities
I faced bias around the extra work that many of us do around caregiving responsibilities, even when we’re at work. We have emotional connections, mental connections, and physical things that we’re taken care of for others.
Perception based on media and fears
I’ve often encountered bias in various work settings where people’s perceptions of me and my abilities was based on what they’d seen in the media, their fears, anxieties, stereotypes without ever actually asking me, you know, how do we do this, or what do you think?
Now I remember when I worked for an international company. I worked for a few. But in this particular case, somebody asked me, and actually asked me on perhaps two or three occasions, he said, did you know somebody in this company? Is this how you got in? He was clearly biassed because I don’t think that he would perhaps ask that if I were a white man.
Diversity Leadership: Business Schools don’t have ALL the answers either, they are trying to figure it out too.
Business schools need to take steps beyond recruitment to also create an inclusive and supportive environment for
under-represented groups to ensure progress in racial, ethnic and gender diversity, says a new White Paper from the
Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School.
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