2. What is unconscious gender bias and why is it a problem?

What is unconscious gender bias? What does it look like?

Read/watch two of the items below, which provide examples of gender bias and how it can be challenged:

  • Watch this clip from ABC’s The Drum to hear how the Tropfest film competition dramatically increased the number of women finalists in one year
  • Watch this clip, in which a riddle exposes the unconscious gender biases of everyday people, on the street.
  • Read these articles written by colleagues Martin and Nicole, who noticed significant differences in the way their professional peers and clients treated them, when they exchanged email signatures for a week.
  • Read this article about the experience of two women who struggled to get their internet start-up business off-the-ground, until they decided to invent ‘Keith Mann’, a fictional male founder.

How does it help?

Unconscious gender bias refers to prejudiced or unfair assumptions that an individual holds about a person or group of people, based on their gender. In many cases, people are not aware of their own gender biases, so their judgement or assumptions can be considered ‘unconscious’, or automatic.

These biases are often negative and based on gender stereotypes.

Unconscious gender bias is a major barrier to women’s participation in leadership and decision-making. Promoting women’s decision-making and independence have been recognised as key essential actions in preventing violence against women.

Keep going!

Continue to take action to challenge unconscious gender bias:

  • Become aware of your own gender-based biases and assumptions about women and men
  • Call out gender bias when you notice it in your everyday life.
  • Advocate for unconscious gender bias training for staff at your workplace

Please note that these clips/articles contain information regarding the topics of sexism, gender inequality and violence against women. If you find the information distressing, please click through for information and support on self care. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please visit the our help section for further information and support.