Updated: Mar 13
A while ago I read Mary Ann Sieghart’s analysis on the BBC: Why are even women biased against women? and I was deeply disappointed. Not by Mary, but in me. Mary wrote an exquisite in-depth article describing various social, cultural and even biological, evolutionarily reasons for this biased approach we carry around with us like another DNA fragment in our lives. If we think about it for a second, we realise that it’s no wonder. After all, our mind is shaped by our experiences in childhood, by our family and the sets of social rules that we follow unconsciously. Furthermore, from a psychological aspect; placing ideas and people, and social rules in frames and in collective features is enabling us to digest the world. It assists us in being part of it and to feel like we feel belong. We are nourished from our experiences until we become critical and construct our own ideas and mind frames.
At least, this is what I believed and thought I was doing so far; until I read the analysis related to the unconscious bias towards women. I began to think and analyse my place in the world again; based on the above assumption that I have created my own beliefs and ideas towards women.
As I've started thinking, I found myself moving uncomfortably on my seat when certain scenarios and interaction came to my head. Shamefully, I started to remember my reactions with a surprised or impressed face at a woman’s path in career. For example, I didn’t think a certain woman was the CEO of a company. I thought that she was the PA.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being a PA, but I didn’t give her the basic credit she should have received had I have the same conversation with a man. I then have recollected a few more examples of my flawed assumptions. I felt guilty and embarrassed to the realization that this approach is not a stranger in my world and that I can identify with the bias reactions and emotions towards women.
When the awareness hit me; I felt so disappointed in myself. I have always been proud of my motto in life in which women are human being before being women; as the famous Simon de Beauvoir argues rightfully decades ago. Looking at our society, the new language and terminology we have created such as; the ceiling glass, balance gender, equal opportunity etc, and the amounts of articles, movements and women protesting in changing women’s place in the society, I couldn’t not be surprised at that notion that notwithstanding and despite all, I sometimes don’t give women the credit they should get only because they are women. I guess, our mind is still constructed in a biased way. One thing I learned from this inner discovery is that our evolution of mind-set is still in a process and being aware to it is a great step towards a change.
I am optimistic!