We all have attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes that affect our judgments and decisions without our conscious awareness. These are called unconscious biases and are formed based on our experiences, cultural background, upbringing, and societal influences. They can shape our perceptions and actions towards individuals or groups, often leading to unintentional discrimination or unfair treatment. And importantly, we all have them, we just have different ones.
Unconscious bias operates on an automatic and subconscious level, as opposed to conscious biases, which are deliberately held and expressed. It can manifest in various forms, such as racial bias, gender bias, age bias, and many others. For example, someone may hold an unconscious bias that associates women with less leadership ability, which may result in overlooking qualified women for promotion opportunities.
Even if unconscious bias is a challenge for many groups, many of which are part of the Pride movement, it's important to note that unconscious biases do not necessarily reflect a person's true values or intentions. They are developed over time and are a product of cognitive shortcuts and mental associations. However, even though these biases are not deliberate, they can still have significant real-world consequences, perpetuating stereotypes, and contributing to systemic inequalities.
This is why we believe it is important to talk about them, explore what they are, and how we can gain consciousness and be more aware of how we meet people different than ourselves.
Unconscious bias vs consciousbias
Unconscious or conscious? The difference between the two is that conscious biases are biased attitudes about a group we are aware of. They can be (in)visible, they can be accessed.Whereas unconscious biases are biased attitudesoperating outside your awareness and control, they are difficult to access or be aware of, and influence your action more than conscious biases.
How to fight unconscious bias
No one can fight unconscious bias by themselves, we need to do it together as families, companies, and society, and it requires a combination of individual and collective efforts. There are several things we can do to address and mitigate unconscious bias:
Raise awareness: Education and awareness are crucial in recognizing and understanding unconscious bias. Encourage open conversations and provide training programs that help individuals become aware of their biases and understand their impact on decision-making and interactions. In Cegal we are planning training for all staff as part of the projects we are focusing on as part of our Sustainability Report.
Examine personal biases: We can all engage in self-reflection to identify our own biases. This involves being honest with oneself, acknowledging biases, and understanding how they might influence perceptions and actions.
Diversify perspectives: Actively seek out diverse perspectives and experiences. Surround yourself with individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and identities. This can help challenge stereotypes and broaden your understanding of others. This is one of the reasons why diversity is essential in Cegal, and luckily, we have a wide range of diverse groups represented within our organization.
Promote inclusive practices: Review and revise policies, procedures, and practices within organizations to ensure they are inclusive and unbiased.
Foster empathy and cultural competence: Develop empathy and cultural competence by learning about diverse cultures, histories, and experiences. Engage in cross-cultural interactions, seek out diverse viewpoints, and actively listen to others.
Encourage collaboration and teamwork: Foster collaborative environments where individuals from diverse backgrounds work together towards common goals. This can help break down stereotypes, build understanding, and promote fair decision-making. Collaborative, supportive, and authentic working environments also have a positive impact on business. Diverse teams deliver better results than teams with a homogenous composition.
Addressing unconscious bias is an ongoing process that requires continuous learning and effort. By taking these steps, individuals and organizations can work towards creating more inclusive environments where biases are recognized, challenged, and minimized.
By understanding and mitigating unconscious bias, we can strive to create a more equitable and just society.
How we work with unconscious bias in Cegal
In Cegal we have worked towards mitigating the gender gap between men and women, as this is unbalanced in the tech industry. We have KPIs in place to ensure awareness and accountability. However, unconscious bias is about much more than men and women, and we have a broader perspective on gender than the binary man and women. Working on getting more women into the workforce is important, but gender identity and sexual orientation are areas where we have more work to do.
A great contributor to raising awareness of women in tech is Women at Cegal. We have a similar workgroup for diversity, Diversity at Cegal, which is working on inclusion and belonging for several groups. Some of the traits and topics covered by this group are highly personal and sensitive. Diversity at Cegal is a combination of a network for employees, and an advisory board for our management, People Experience, and Marketing and Communication in diversity matters.