How to handle gender bias in the office | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 16, 2018

How to handle gender bias in the office

In 2017, Harvard Business Review conducted a research on a company where women comprise only 20% of senior roles. Unsurprisingly, they found that men and women's work patterns and performances were indistinguishable. Yet women weren't advancing whereas men were. Conclusion? There exist implicit biases and unconscious tendencies to favour men over women. Solution? It's not enough for women to just compete and show they're capable; attitudes must change, and women must take initiative.

Talk to someone

You can either confront the person being biased, or relay your situation to a trusted supervisor or a member of your human resources department. Determine the best person to approach who has enough control to aid you.

Keep records

Keep records of your communication, if possible, with other co-workers, including your boss. Should the need come, you will have protected yourself and can give proof of any inappropriate behaviour. Having evidence of what goes on between you and your co-workers will help give you some control over any situation that might arise.

Propose an informative session

A workshop or a large group session can help, even if it's just by getting the issue of gender bias out there in the first place. Being aware and making aware of gender bias is the first step toward correcting it.

Assert your position

Emphasising your strengths and the value they have is effective in defusing negative perception. Show them that your work is no less than theirs.

Band together

Finding other strong women within your workplace is very important. It's highly likely that they have had common experiences, and you can share strategies for dealing with them. In times, they can even get you out of a bind.

If you're a business owner…

Teach all of your personnel and supervisors what constitutes as gender discrimination and inequality. Train them how to identify both the implicit and explicit signs. Knowing about it is only the first step; they must also be taught to how to deal with it and prevent it from happening again in the future.


Shabiba is a senior at BRAC University. Reach her at


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