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"GOOGLE" Thank you for reopening the Gender Unconscious Bias' Dialogue.

If you haven't been sleeping under a rock lately, then you have heard about the "GOOGLE" anti-Diversity Manifesto issued by one of their male Engineers

I couldn't believe my eyes after reading it, it made me sick to my stomach, angry and somehow hurt, and I couldn't help but wonder if we are actually in the 21st century, and in the United States of America! .

This is almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad. Damore in his manifesto shared his belief that women in tech are underrepresented because they are biologically different (DUH!) causing women to have less tolerance to stress, less ambition and less drive to status.

Oh! And women have a uterus

I thought I had heard it all, being part of the Diversity circles, but this one is over the edge. In a matter of damage control Google CEO “Pichai, in his note to employees, said Damore had crossed a line, though he supports employees’ rights to vocalize dissent.

“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,”

What is mind boggling is that many have been defending “Damore” which shouldn’t be surprising in the current political environment we live in. His manifesto is becoming left and right wing issue, as a freedom of speech issue (Freedom of speech protects people from Government not employers- this is another huge discussion for another day) pushing diversity and mainly inclusion years behind; it is like all the progress we have made is slipping back into a dark abyss

I was surprised to read an article that even contented that “Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behavior”,, that sought to prove that no matter what there will never be 50/50 male/female ratio in STEM.

Even if true, what about all the other industries where men are considered “taking charge of matters” and the women “taking care of families”, what about in-equality pay presumed to be 75 cents on the dollar for female employees compared to their male counterparts with same qualifications, education and talent

The Gender Gap in leadership represents a significant missed opportunity for business. It is not about Affirmative action, it is not a politically correct thing, and it is not a leftist movement.

It is predicted that in the year 2020; 50% of the work force will be females, though according to “Korn Ferry” study for Female Presentation in C-suite positions, found that the most senior post is held by the smallest percentage of women, with only 5 percent serving as CEO. This percentage remains flat from 2015, with less 1 percent of CEOs in the life sciences industry are women.

While CFO positions: Only 12 percent of CFOs across industries are women, the least female CFOs are financial and life sciences at 9 percent.

These trends tell us that women, a highly skilled source of leadership talent, are being overlooked to the detriment of business. In the era of global competition for talent, the best Talent Male or Female) should be sought to give a competitive advantage over those that only rely on only men to fill top positions. Many organizations have fallen short of their goals.

Why am I surprised when we live in an environment where women are judged by their looks, age, and level of energy, what they wear and their body type.

Let’s take a step back and review the concept of Gender Equality

Gender Equality involves the concept that all human beings (men and women) are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles, prejudices, or unconscious Bias. Gender equality means that the different behaviors, aspirations and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favored equally.

Gender Equality does not mean that women and men should become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female.

As always, I chose to see a silver lining around the clouds, I am grateful that this incident no matter how hurtful – has brought the gender diversity, gender equality issue front and center, and generated a dialogue sometimes ugly but a dialogue nonetheless

I still believe that the “Boys clubs” still exist though not as much as a movement exists to resist them.

I have my own views about the “glass ceiling”; I believe that the glass ceiling is actually a myth. “We women can build our own building and have our own roof”; but most of the challenges we are going through as women is “Unconscious Bias ” towards female from males and from females as well.

The role of Unconscious Bias:

Unconscious Bias” is the very fundamental way we look at the world around us to make sense of it. We make decisions about others based on what feels safe, familiar, likeable, valuable and competent to us without even realizing it.

Bias is an inflexible positive or negative conscious or unconscious belief about a particular category of people. Our Bias kicks in whenever we have a perception of threat to our own survival or a threat to our physical or property safety, identity or sense of being

Because of Unconscious bias there is a dismissive attitude to women irrespective of how women present themselves, that means that organizations are missing out on hiring or promoting exactly what they need to drive equality through

Women Leadership is better suited to meet the challenges of an increasingly people-centered environment, but executive leadership (mainly males) mean to attract, recruit and promote those who look like them, think like them, behave like them: “In-group” Unconscious Bias

Unconscious Bias causes:

  1. Women to be seen as “Caregivers”, as mothers and spouses with family responsibilities that will prevent them from moving upward

  2. Perceptions of women inability to network especially after work hours, or mix with the boys for drinks

  3. Men seen as the only or the main “Bread Winners” of the household

  4. Assertive Women Leaders to be either considered “B****” or expected to be men in dresses. The participative Women Leaders are too soft or too weak

  5. Assumption that if a woman is successful it is because of a man not her own merits

  6. Outdated succession planning or lack of them; and career development systems

  7. Frequent traveling, or relocations because of a job will cause a women to turn down a position or a promotion

  8. Women entering the workforce have "strong residuals" about the value of female talent as compared to male talent

As women we do not fight back as we should

We try not to attract attention, we try to take the smallest space around us, we keep our voices down, we get interrupted and do not push back, we always use “I Just” which diminishes any words after it and strips us from any power.

We are afraid to negotiate our salaries, we are afraid to contradict opinions in meetings so we won’t be seen as troublemakers.

We do not complain when we are not considered for a promotion that we know we deserve because our boss never gave us the choice, assuming we will turn it down because it involves a lot of travel

We do not speak up when we are not considered for “Mentoring programs” while our male colleagues are put on the fast track, we do not ask to be considered for the big projects that will put our names on the map.

We do not demand a seat on the table, we do not voice our requests and needs, and most importantly we shy away from branding ourselves properly and do not know how to claim and own with pride our achievements or being unapologetic about who we are.

Sometimes as Women we create our own chains that hold us down, create boxes that we imprison ourselves in, preventing us from using our strengths and talent or preventing us from seeing the possibilities.

The challenges Women meet as a Gender

The truth is that there are 3 levels of challenges

  1. Societal: Limited educational opportunities and bias against women

  2. Internal Structure: Corporate practices; management shortcomings like outreach, recruiting and retaining female talents. Organizational Cultures that exclude women in participating in activities that will lead to advancement such as career development assignments, mentorship and management training

  3. Governmental: Inconsistent enforcement of Equal Opportunity Employment laws, and poor collection and distribution of reports and statistics that showcase the problems

What can we do?

"Gender Equality is not just a “women’s issue” but a societal one."

That is why we need to engage the “Men” as part of the discussion to be an ally to women as well as advocate and sponsors to women

Some men are totally oblivious to the gender disparity in the workplace, or have fear to lose status, or being ridiculed or considered soft and mushy, some do not get involved as it doesn’t touch them.