Published: 05th March 2021
E-Canteen Fundas: Test the extent of your unconscious biases, they shouldn't influence your decisions
Pro Tip: Our unconscious biases influence our decisions. Be aware. When we allow everyone to flourish on an equal footing, we unleash the real potential of our unit
Happy International Women’s Day, Rinku,’ said Rahul.
‘Thanks, Rahul,’ said Rinku. ‘Good to see you support and celebrate gender equality.’
‘But why this special focus?’ wondered Rahul. ‘Women do everything that men do. Where’s the bias?’
‘Okay, answer this popular riddle,’ said Rakesh. ‘A father and a son are involved in a car crash. The father dies. The son’s taken to the hospital in critical condition. On the operating table, the surgeon says, ‘I can’t operate. He’s my son.’ How’s it possible?’
‘The man who died is not the real father,’ said Rahul.
‘Maybe the surgeon was mistaken,’ said Rinku.
‘Wrong,’ said Rakesh. ‘The surgeon was the mother.’
‘OMG,’ said Rahul and Rinku.
‘Don’t worry, most people get it wrong,’ said Rakesh, ‘Thanks to unconscious biases we all pick up in our childhood. These implicit biases influence our decisions unconsciously — like assuming that women are good only for certain jobs. Women have suffered gender bias for centuries, Rahul.’
‘But things have changed, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul.
‘I doubt it, going by your answers,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘In another study, the same CV with a male name and with a female name was given to respondents to judge who was more competent. The majority said the male was. That’s how biased we still are. Ideas that men ‘take charge’ and women ‘take care’ are deeply ingrained and quietly relegate highly capable women to the background while promoting incapable males.’
‘That’s sad,’ said Rinku. ‘How can we counter this, bhaiyya?’
‘By being aware,’ said Rakesh, ‘And testing ourselves on our biases. Take the Harvard Implicit Association Test and test your biases. Or the flip test — put the other gender in a familiar situation and check how you feel. Imagine a man doing all the housework and holding a high-ranking job or a married woman pilot hanging out at the bar. If it makes you feel weird, you have a bias.’
‘But, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul, ‘Are traditional roles wrong?’
‘That’s insecure thinking,’ said Rakesh. ‘By keeping 50 per cent of our population out, humanity cannot grow. To attain our fullest potential as a society, we must eliminate all bias, include women’s perspectives and give everyone their rightful place.’
‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘Big insight.’
Pro Tip: Our unconscious biases influence our decisions. Be aware. When we allow everyone to flourish on an equal footing, we unleash the real potential of our unit.