A look ahead to 'Breaking barriers together'

Gender equality. Two words which seem to illicit strong emotions on occasion, ranging from vigorous approval to a roll of the eyes. There are those who will file this under ‘woke’ – to be disregarded, ignored, and often ridiculed.

In anticipation of the IoD Isle of Man event in August on the topic, this article touches on unconscious gender bias and how women encounter this within society – their working lives, as consumers, or even in the home.

Unconscious bias is something everyone has as it helps our brains organise and categorise information according to learned or past experience. This means that  stereotypes are unconsciously applied to people and groups of people. For example, on seeing a large group of teenagers hanging around town during night-time an assumption that some criminal activity has occurred, or is about to occur, could be made.

When this is applied to gender, an unconscious gender bias example could include an assumption that a woman in her early 30s has, or is going to have, children.

In the retail environment there are also many examples of the ‘pink tax’. Why are popular men’s shaving foam brands much cheaper than the brand equivalent aimed at women? It’s the same product, save for the packaging apparently designed to appeal to the female.

In the workplace there are many barriers that women typically have to encounter on their journey to the boardroom. And that’s even if they get that far, The vast majority do not.

Lisa Karran is hosting an interactive workshop on this topic on 22 August. The transformative workshop, Breaking barriers together has been designed by Lisa to be of value to anyone who seeks clarity in navigating the complexities of gender equality.

Just as importantly perhaps, Lisa will also highlight how ALL of us have an unconscious bias.

“It's not just about getting women to the top. It's just about ensuring that women are afforded the same opportunities as men in whatever field, and at whatever level, that is. This workshop will be constructive. It’s not about demonising anyone! But it will articulate the broader issues around gender equality and hopefully get people to start thinking about their own behaviours. I have found that some bias training can be quite damaging in that it has the unintended consequence of making people feel they are walking on eggshells – they are often scared of saying anything for fear of saying the wrong thing.”
Lisa Karran
IoD Isle of Man Diversity, Inclusion & Equality Ambassador

Those attending the event will discover practical tools and strategies to create a more inclusive environment, gain the confidence to foster equality within their respective organisations and to create positive change at home.

Further details – Breaking barriers together Tuesday 22 August 8am – 10am, iMuseum.

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The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
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