Awareness of how inequality appears
Our first step
in improving the future, & the now,
for our daughters, sons, colleagues & clients.
The story of orchestras
In the 70's and 80's, orchestras were 5% women.
Until, 'blind' auditions behind a screen
(including walking on-stage barefoot),
by 1997, they were up to 25% women.
We have good intentions
The judges wanted to hire the best musicians.
Gender bias affected how the judges saw the quality of men and women's performances, without them realising
All of us, men and women, are prone to these biases.
Biases are a natural part of how our brain processes information,
it's where they have unintentional impacts on our decisions, where we look to 'interrupt' them.
The good news, with awareness and steps within processes,
we can reduce the biases impact on a decision.
Stereotypes at play
Cognitive shortcuts in information processing are natural and necessary, unfortunately gender stereotypes act as a shortcut and introduce errors into our decision making.
How biases influence decision:
Our unconscious bias work as a shortcut on thought processes, by relying on what we think we know
about 'men' and 'women', we lean our interpretation of what we're seeing, towards what we expect to see.
Women, warm, nurturing, modest, nice, empathetic.
Men, action-orientated, assertive, decisive, dominant.
If role and behaviour differs to what we expect,
we scrutinise their performance,
show doubt, ask for further proof, we may even reject what we see by seeking counter-evidence.
Entrepreneur, leader, decisive,
action-orientated, assertive, dominant.
Gender role incongruence introduces
different standards for assessing men and women
in entrepreneurial and leadership roles
Equalise the bar
Do you believe men and women are 'inherently different'?
It may help to question and challenge this premise
Feed your mind beyond stereotypes
Look at the men and women around you, look further beyond your own connections. See the variety of characters in men and women, as well as the cross-overs and blends of masculine and feminine.
Stereotypes trap men in role behaviours too
Men who display traditionally 'feminine' qualities, win less investment.
Read, Meet the neuroscientist whose debunked the theory of the gendered brain.
Why inequality at work matters to you
Inequality at work matters for recruitment of women and minorities into investor firms.
Culture matters, an inclusive culture is vital for recruiting, retaining and promoting women into private equity and venture capital.
The daily experience and promotional opportunities, that women and minorities expect to experience, based on the culture you portray, will influence their choice of which job offer to accept.
Recruitment criteria matters, written agreed criteria beforehand removes unintended bias.
Challenge the long criteria, what person skills matter, what job skills can be taught 'on the job'. Can investment modelling be taught on the job, rather than being a prerequisite? Are other aptitude characteristics essential, skills that can't be taught?
Valued and purpose matters, will women want to work for you if, they know the work environment will be more diversified, on both sides of the table.
If you value diversity of thought, you will naturally value the voices of women in your team. Women will want to work in an environment where their voice is valued. Valued and belonging are key human drivers.
Businesses serving female markets are under-invested in.
Women and minorities led businesses are under-invested.
Will women join private equity in significant numbers, whilst investing
continues to be portrayed and externally perceived as an exclusionary model?
Does an environment of 90% male investors, fuel an underestimation of the market size
for products targeted at women?
Can men mistakenly consider themselves the target market? Or relate less to the product or sector? Can men consider they have less expertise to add to a product that targets women?
And so, can they in error pass on a great investment?
Investor firms can address the recruitment problem they face now, and get ahead of the next challenge from institutional investors, to diversify the founder teams within their investment companies.
By investing in the double untapped opportunities of women and minority, founder teams, and consumer markets.
Recruiting more women & investing in more women entrepreneurs is good for business
Both act as positive drivers to each other, and
ultimately to your firm's success
Both agendas offer untapped investment opportunity.
Evidence and examples of inequality
Can help us recognise what we're seeing, and understand the bigger impact
The evidence of inequality is seen everyday by everybody. We accept it as part of culture. We may explain it away for a number of reasons, or we may just not recognise it for what it is.
Once we start to see inequality, we start to see it everywhere, and that is great, we can only change what we know exists.
Below is some of the evidence brought out in studies. Sometimes we need to see the impact on scale, to understand how small biases add up.
These examples may give you an understanding into an area you may not see or experience yourself. They may help you to recognise what you're seeing the next time it happens in front of you.
Example 1, recruitment
Exact same CV sent to psychology professors, all over the US.
50% given CV with a man's name
79% would hire this candidate
50% given CV with a woman's name
49% would hire this candidate
4x more doubt-raising statements
'I would need to see evidence she had got these grants and publications on her own.'
Does this example lead you to want to ask questions, perhaps on the job itself?
Are you looking to know more?
Seeking an explanation is a natural reaction when you're given an example that doesn't match your usual expectation. It's how our bias works, and how we rationalise it.
We want to believe we're objective and not biased, we want to see ourselves as 'good' people, and of course we are.
These are natural mind processes. By consciously being aware of these natural processes,
we can add to them and improve our decision-making, .
Example 2, recruitment
Researchers sent two CVs for the position of police chief, to 3 evaluation groups.
The CV's were equivalent in overall quality,
one had stronger education,
one had stronger experience.
3 evaluation groups,
Evaluators recruitment decision & rational
No name on CVs
Favoured more education
Man more education
Favoured more education
Woman more education
Favoured more experience
1 shift in criteria
Written agreed criteria
Woman more education
Favoured more education
No shift in criteria
Just as in real-life when this bias plays out,
the evaluators believed they'd been objective.
Without a criteria agreed beforehand, we don't notice the shift in criteria that rationalises our bias-influenced and sub-optimal decision.
Women, can just work harder?
Competent and assertive
When women are more assertive they are less liked.
That double-bind of women being assertive and liked is significant in the critical first stage of
'can we work together'
The Heidi and Howard story: Heidi Roizen, a successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist was the subject of a case study at Columbia Business School. Professor Frank Flynn, presented half his class with the case study with Heidi’s name on it, and gave half the class the same case study with her name changed to “Howard”. The students rated “Howard” and Heidi, equally competent, but they liked Howard, but not Heidi.
“the more assertive a student found the female venture capitalist to be, the more they rejected her.”
"Bob, that was a fabulous suggestion"
Occurs even when
the woman noted as the expert in the room
The affect of one slight is small, the cumulative affect has been likened to 'death by a thousand cuts'.
And contributes to significant numbers of women opting out of their workplace and even their career.
While we move on social change, it's useful to have a picture on where we are now
Women in the Workplace, McKinsey & Lean In 2018
2 min read, summary
How we got here, how it perpetuates, how we're changing it
Why this matters?
We're creating an association of male significance over female.
We normalise an imbalance,
that we perpetuate in adulthood.
Perception of value over performance
What you can do
When introducing female colleagues, give their credentials that are relevant to the meeting or project
Proven to result in higher perception of their competence, removed question of doubt.
Consider the question:
How different do you think men and women are?
Say individual contributions within team achievements
When team achievements are not separated, woman's contribution assumed lower than men's
Recruit and promote based on written agreed criteria set beforehand
Be accountable to yourself and others on decisions
After recruitment process,
ask for feedback from women
Reason for joining or not joining; decision factors; their experience of the process.
Gendered titles can create and reinforce gender associations of job roles.
Change 'chairman' to 'chair'.
nb 'chairman' is not engendered
Avoid the use of the masculine form as a default or catch all.
Change 'he' to 'they'.
UN Guidelines for gender-inclusive language