Have you ever been told that you need to be “less emotional” at work? Has a colleague implied you’re not qualified or experienced enough for your job? Maybe you’ve been mistaken for somebody more junior? Or been expected to be the one to jump up and pour the coffee in a meeting?
As women, we are often told that there is something wrong with us. We are told to fix our bodies, our appearance, and even our personalities in order to be acceptable and successful in our careers.
But the truth is, it’s not women who need fixing – it’s the workplace.
One common issue that disproportionately targets women is imposter syndrome.
This is the feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy that can plague even the most competent and capable individuals. Women are particularly susceptible to imposter syndrome, often attributing their successes to external factors such as luck or help from others rather than their own abilities.
But imposter syndrome is not just an individual issue – it is often exacerbated by biases and discrimination that women face in the workplace. For example, the maternal wall is a bias that causes women to be perceived as less competent or committed to their work after becoming mothers.
The double bind is another common bias, in which women are seen as either too aggressive or not assertive enough, regardless of their actual behaviour. These biases can make it difficult for women to advance in their careers and eliminate the persistent gender pay gap.
These biases and discrimination are not limited to white women. Women of colour and other marginalised groups face additional barriers and discrimination in the workplace. This can make it even harder for them to succeed and reach their full potential.
But it’s not all bad news. There are many ways in which the workplace would be better for women if these biases were addressed.
For one, companies with more diverse and inclusive environments tend to perform better financially. Inclusive workplaces also lead to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.
There are countless examples of companies and industries that have made positive changes for women and seen the benefits as a result. For instance, some companies have implemented mentorship programs, family-friendly policies, and diversity and inclusion training to create a more welcoming and supportive environment for women.
It’s clear that a more inclusive workplace is better for women and for the company as a whole. In order to create these positive changes, it’s important for companies to actively listen to and understand the experiences of women. Gaslighting the female experience – denying or dismissing the realities of discrimination and bias – only perpetuates the problem.
It’s 2023, it’s time to stop telling women that they need fixing and start focusing on fixing the biases and discrimination that hold them back in the workplace. By creating a more inclusive environment, we can help women reach their full potential and create a better future for everyone.
If you’re feeling fed up and frustrated at work and you’d like to explore how to fully unleash your career and leadership potential, let’s talk.