Aakanksha SinhaAssistant Professor
Stop looking at it as ‘me against you’
We have to unlearn biases, so that the constant loud voice in our head keeps saying “this is our world, we have to work together not against each other if we want to succeed as a society.”
The person more likely to lead is not the physically stronger person, it is the more creative person, the more intelligent person, the more innovative person, and there are no hormones for those attributes -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A loud voice in my head keeps saying “this is a man’s world, you have to adjust to it if you want to succeed”. This is not the fictitious voice of Yoda or Dumbledore in my head, but the very real words of numerous people whom I have interacted with and attempted to discuss gender inequality in the workplace. The scary part – some of these people work in the social development sector and are tasked with eliminating biases such as gender inequality.
While these words make me uncomfortable, I wonder how many of us have been forced to internalize this. How many of us think it is okay not to aspire to have leading positions in our work place? How many of us think it is okay to settle for a lower salary? How many of us think it is okay to accept sexually inappropriate comments as a joke? How many of us think it is okay to be interrupted again and again by a male co-worker to explain the exact same thing in the exact same words that you are saying? How many of us think it is okay to feel uncomfortable to ask for a nursing room or a trip to a bathroom? How many of us think it is okay to be explained a technical issue in a simpler way even when you are perfectly capable and qualified, only because you are perceived to be unskilled?
About the Author
Aakanksha has a Ph.D. in Social Work. She is an Assistant Professor at Seattle University and a consultant for Design Impact. Her primary areas of research include positive deviance, food security, poverty & inequality, and community asset building.