Hidden Bias About Gender in the Workplace Revealed

In honor of International Women’s Day I wanted to shed light on myths associated with gender bias; as well as provide realistic responses to those hidden bias from a woman who serve as Human Resource professionals.

The questions were inspired by ArYouSerious readers and the purpose of the interview is to provide strategies women can employ in the workplace. Additionally, the interview is designed for men and women alike to challenge the status quo and encourage our employers to strive for balance within the company’s culture.

Photo by  Clarke Sanders  on  Unsplash

Title: People and Culture Manager 

Years in your industry: 18

Influence is much more important than a title.
— People and Culture Manager

What prompts a pay difference between men and women? 

“There are several factors that contribute pay inequity. One cause is that men are taught and encouraged the art of negotiation.  Women are often timid to speak up and ask for what they want. Studies have found that women will not even apply for a job, unless that have all the required abilities listed in the job description. Men will apply if they only own a few of the needed skills. Another reason for pay differences is companies’ policy around pay. If there isn’t a conscious effort to drive pay equity the inequality will continue to prevail.

Why is there a discrepancy in salary based on gender? How can companies overcome this practice?

“Companies can adopt more transparent pay practices. One example could be using Market Based Pay. Market Based Pay allows the market to dictate the pay offered. It doesn’t require negotiation. This practice ensure that regardless of gender all applicants will be offered the same pay rate based on the job profile, their experience and the leveling of the role.”

If pay bias is based on the company’s culture: who is to blame for the inequality?

“ I’m not sure there’s one person or entity to blame. Pay inequality is born out of our patriarchal system. We need to continue to challenge the status quo. Who can spark change? I think that anyone can spark change. I would definitely say that executives and HR professionals should continue to challenge the current landscape of pay. This pay theory assumes that everyone is fully performing in role, there’s no fighting for extra pay, which can often leave people behind and increase the pay gap”.

Throughout your career, have you ever hired a man and woman in complimentary roles, with similar experience and paid the woman a lesser amount?

“I have experienced this at other companies that I have worked for. I’m proud to say that my current company has worked to alleviate this pay phenomenon”.

Has a woman of color hairstyle ever impacted her ability to secure the job?

“This is not something that I’ve seen or been made aware of. I would have to say not based on my experience.” 

Do HR professionals receive incentives when they extend candidates lower salary offers? 

 “No, not to my knowledge. Most salary recommendations and born out of the Compensation Team and Recruiting. I find that HR is there as a support. There’s definitely no incentive.”

What advice would you provide to millennial women who want to grow in their career & be seen as a legitimate leader in their organization?

“I would encourage employees to do “the work.” I often find that people are vying for a promotion without putting in the work to build their creditability. Influence is much more important than a title. Make sure that you’ve created a name and respect first. I would create a list of achievements that mirror or complement the role that I’d like to take on next. SEE POST on BRAG SHEETS.

Currently There are no black women CEOs leading any S&P 500 companies. Why do you think that is?

“I think that diversity matters. The gap starts with recruiting in lower level positions. If there is no pipeline it would stand to reason, that there would be no diverse candidates available to CEO roles. I believe that sponsorship stands in the way of African American women. Many of their counterparts have career sponsors that stand in support of their own. We need to ensure that we make a way for those coming behind us. “The man who plants a tree will not be the one that stands in the shade.”

What other questions do you have about gender bias in the workplace? Comment below.

—Love + Light

Ar’Sheill Monsanto

Special “thanks” to the interviewee willing to shed some light on ways we can empower women on Women’s International Day.