A father and his son are in a car accident. The father is killed and the son is seriously injured. The son is rushed to the hospital whereupon the surgeon says, “I cannot operate on this boy because he is my son.” How is it possible?
For those of us who were presented with this scenario in another century, please don’t cringe. Sadly 40-75% of people still can’t figure it out. For those who do, it usually takes a few moments to realize that a surgeon could be the boy’s mother. All too often, surgeon or boss conjure up images of men despite our best intentions otherwise.
Cultural messaging still favors strong gender stereotypes beyond image to performance which leads to believing that men are more competent than women. Although a majority of us may say that this thinking has changed significantly, studies still reveal that “managers, both male and female, continue to favor men over equally qualified women in hiring, compensation, performance evaluation and promotional decisions.”
Likewise, recruiters and hiring managers report that women tend to apply for jobs when they meet 100% of the criteria, whereas their male counterparts are likely to apply when they are at 70%. According to author, Tara Mohr, “Only 10% of women don’t apply for a job because they lack confidence. More than 40% refrain because they are under the false impression that job qualifications are non-negotiable. And 15% don’t apply because they are being good-girl rule followers and adhering to the guidelines.”
How deeply are managers influenced by our own gender biases in hiring? How do we women hold ourselves back from even applying for positions based on old stories, misinformation and an overall lack of understanding the marketplace?
At the end of the day, who really is the BOSS? Who is holding you back or pushing you forward? Too often the obstacle you face is taking up space in your mind’s eye and it’s time for a readjustment.