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International Women’s Day 2021

In the workplace 92% of people already see themselves as allies, but only 29% say they actually speak up when they perceive bias, with 34% simply ignoring it.

The pandemic and move to virtual meetings has sometimes made it harder for women to be heard and speak up – 45% of female leaders in a recent study reported they felt ignored or overlooked on video calls.

As we celebrate all the talented women we have placed, coached, developed and mentored this year in senior leadership roles, it is important to remember it takes courage to challenge bias. Here are 4 ways identified by Per Ardua and Pantheon Leadership to help us speak up:

  1. We all need to work together to create cultures where challenge and feedback on bias is not only accepted but actively encouraged – a call to all our Chairs, CEOs and key decision makers who act as role models to ensure this happens – inclusion is a team sport that we can all play our part in.
  2. Look at ways we can mitigate bias in all our hiring and succession decisions, by calling out behaviours using objective assessment, peer reviews and multiple market referencing.
  3. In the modern boardroom, consider putting ourselves on ‘mute’ to allow others the virtual space to turn the volume up.
  4. Accept this is an evolution and own our own responses, kindly. There will be times when we get it wrong. Listen deeply and acknowledge what is going on, what our role is in the system and how we can address it in a constructive, fair way.

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