We live in a world where our minds constantly process multiple sources of information. It’s probably happening to you right now. How many of you have a half dozen or more tabs open, are reading this in the middle of writing an email, or are waiting for your child to put their pajamas on so you can tuck them in?
We do a lot without being fully and consciously aware. The world that we live in is a fast one, and when we’re operating at full speed, unconscious biases flood our thinking and interactions. These biases influence the ways we participate in the workplace, our social groups, our homes—everywhere.
Man or woman, young or old, affluent or not—we all have unconscious biases. It doesn’t make us bad or evil, it simply makes us human. We’re taught to trust our instincts, but sometimes in doing so we take shortcuts. Those shortcuts influence the trajectory of our decision making, often leading us to (mis)judge people.
Unconscious biases are formulated and reinforced by our societal norms, our personal experiences and our environments. It’s time to lift the veil. Are you in?
Leading social justice scholars believe that unconscious bias can lead to gender, race, and class stereotyping, prompting discriminatory attitudes and actions towards women, people of color, and the economically disadvantaged. Those scholars are working alongside progressive corporations and entities to address unconscious bias to ensure it doesn’t undermine daily operations, strategic planning, hiring, and promotions.
You’re an influential part of creating this new system. Have you examined your unconscious biases? Radical authenticity elevates us all, and so we’d like to hear your deep share.
Let’s make it fun: Unpack an example of your unconscious bias with us and you’ll be entered to win one of two complimentary tickets to Emerging Women Live! HuffPost called EW “a place where gifts will be ignited.” This inclusive and interactive event, from Oct. 5-8th in Denver, CO, will feature Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; MILCK, the artist behind the Women’s March Quiet flashmob; Esther Perel, relationship expert and best-selling author of Mating in Captivity; Shiza Shahid, co-founder of the Malala Fund; Emmy Ruiz, Colorado State Director of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign; Amanda Steinberg, founder of dailyworth.com and worthFM.com and author of Worth It; National Poetry Slam Champion and two-time Women of the World Slam Champion Dominique Christina and many more brilliant women.
I’ll go first: My unconscious bias was towards women.
Pretty ironic for the founder of a women’s leadership organization, right? I spent many years actively distancing myself from anything and anyone I deemed “too girly” because I equated it with weakness. This inherited mindset persisted well into my 20s. I exaggerated my masculine qualities and suppressed my feminine strengths. I thought I had to work 10 times harder to make up for being a woman. And my unconscious bias wasn’t just self-inflicted—I expected other powerful women to do the same.
Realizing my unconscious bias was a revolution for me, my career and my relationships. I stopped apologizing for being a woman and started celebrating the women leaders who wear their compassion, empathy, connection and intuition like badges of honor. I recruit these women into the Emerging Women team because I know their non-traditional business styles are assets, not liabilities.
Now it’s your turn! Tell us about your experience with unconscious bias in the comments to win one of two complimentary tickets to Emerging Women Live. We’ll be collecting responses through August 27!