My Unconscious Bias - By Eileen Parra

Women are less likely than men to support policies that make it easier for women to advance professionally. The logic behind this statement is that these women believe they overcame significant obstacles to obtain a leadership position so why should it be easier for the next generation of women leaders. There are obvious flaws in this logic, but when I first heard this statement I was more interested in knowing if I had exhibited any behaviors that would cause me to have a similar perspective in the future.

After some deep reflection, I became aware of two behaviors that revealed by unconscious bias: 1) my professional network had more men than women and 2) I did not really know how I could support women in a professional setting. These behaviors indicated to me that maybe I felt my professional network was stronger if it had more men than women.

Knowing I had this bias, I was determined to change it. I made concerted efforts to be a resource to the new female analyst at my previous employer. I encouraged her to take on new projects, provided advice on how to approach clients, and was prompt on answering any questions she had even after I left for business school.

I joined SWIM because I wanted to get to know more women and be part of the BTM Conference planning team.  The BTM Conference is a forum for developing actions that help break unconscious biases and identify ways to implement them. Becoming aware of my unconscious bias has improved how I interact with and support others. I look forward to identifying solutions for breaking unconscious biases with this year’s attendees and speakers.