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4 Ways Bias Shows Up for Women at Work

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

Women’s History Month is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Women’s History Month is also a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do for a gender-equal world, free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. Studies show that women face discrimination in the workplace on multiple fronts, but don’t often report issues or incidents.

Now before I go too much further, let’s talk about Bias. Bias can feel like a loaded word but the reality is that we all have bias as humans. There is no getting around it, not avoiding it. It’s something that we all have to face.

Let’s take a closer look at some common biases that show up for women at work.


Women in leadership are more likely to face challenges to their competence—such as being interrupted, hearing comments on their emotional state, or having their judgment questioned.

73% of women experience bias at work, but only 22% of employees say they see biased behavior in their organization—and those that do rarely speak up.

The Motherhood Penalty

23% of working mothers say they have been passed over for a promotion because they have children. Moreover, 41% of employed Americans perceive working moms to be less devoted to their work and a third judged them for needing a more flexible schedule.

Performance Reviews

A study found that 66% of women’s performance reviews contained negative personality feedback such as, “You could be less abrasive,” compared to only 1% of men’s reviews.

The Broken Rung

For every 100 men hired and promoted to manager, only 72 women are hired and promoted.

If we really want change then authentic allyship and ownership are key. We each need to recognize when a fellow woman is being treated unfairly and support her so that she can move forward.

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