Have you ever noticed, or asked yourself, who’s always making the teas in the office?
’Office housework’ such as making the tea, tidying the staff room and taking notes – often falls to women, and according to a survey commissioned by Samsung, of 2,000 workers, women are more than twice as likely as their male colleagues to be asked to make a round of drinks at work. 42 per cent of women claim they will be asked to make a round of tea at work compared to just 16 per cent of men.
This finding starts a wider conversation about bias in the workplace in general, and begs the question, how do we break down these subconscious biases?
According to the research, gender bias remains common in subtle ways in many offices, finding that women were also more than twice as likely than men to be asked to undertake other administrative or menial tasks and to be asked about the welfare of their children.
On average, respondents of the survey said they heard gender-biased language around four times a week, with many women feeling dismissed by people addressing them as “darling” or “girl”. Women also experienced sexist jokes almost three times as much as men.
However, the discomfort this behaviour brings to the workplace can affect everyone – with almost a third of both men and women saying they felt such biases prevented them from reaching their full potential, and 64% of workers said they had called it out in some way, whether directly or by reporting to a boss or HR.
The vast majority of respondents, however, said they were making an effort to use more inclusive language in their own work, with many calling for training to help people overcome bias and become more inclusive.
There are so many things that need to be changed and addressed in society and in the workplace to overcome gender bias and changing taught languages is one of the first steps.
So, how can employers help overcome bias in the workplace?
Teach what those gender bias languages are and why they can be triggering. If people aren’t educated on why it is wrong then they will never know any different
Introduce a disciplinary system for those who show biased behaviours and follow through with discipline
Make taskwork fair. Ensure that menial tasks are being taken on by everyone and one person isn’t left with all of the responsibilities.
Remove the mask. As the employer or manager, you should lead by example and open up the conversation around gender biases in your workplace. Start conversations, ask what people want to change, and make people aware they can talk to you about any problems they may have.
The research article recently caught wind of people on LinkedIn, with people giving their own experiences with gender bias in the workplace. Join in the conversation here.