There has been a lot of discussion this week on gender biases and discrimination as a result of this manifesto circulated by a Google engineer over the weekend. We cannot see our own biases until we are granted an opportunity to raise them into consciousness, the experience of which is often painful. No one wants to believe they are influenced by things that are not easily seen from within their own perspective. Agreeing that bias exists is far different than seeing our own biases, the latter of which is likely to feel like an uncontrollable flaw. As such, we quickly say "I get it, but it doesn't apply to me personally."
We all have biases, myself included.
This week, I address the blatant gender bias that exists by sharing a study quoted in Robert Sapolsky's newest book, Behave. I have been fascinated by this book for the greater part of the last 3 months, enthralled in every last detail, including the footnotes where this particular study lives.
"A recent study shows the life-and-death consequences of linguistic cuing. For the same storm intensity, hurricanes arbitrarily given female names kill more people than do those with male names (names alternate between the two genders). Why? People unconsciously take male-named hurricanes more seriously and are more likely to comply with evacuation orders. And this despite both male and female names being selected for their innocuousness - this isn't comparing Hurricane Mary Poppins with Hurricane Vlad the Impaler."
Sit with that for a moment. The arbitrary naming of a hurricane influences whether it is taken seriously by those in the path of the storm (and likely how it's reported on by the media beforehand).
This week, invite in the possibility that you have bias. What biases may live within you?
Simply raise your awareness.
Awareness is a mandatory step on the journey of making different choices.