Eliminating gender bias in the workplace

Bossy, pushy, and aggressive — women who display assertiveness in the workplace are perceived more negatively than men with the same behavior. This is the gender bias.

Words matter, and they can hurt women's careers

When women are labeled differently than men, despite displaying the same traits, it’s often because of unconscious gender bias. Nonprofit Catalyst is shedding a light on its prevalence in the workplace. Serena Fong, Vice President of Catalyst, tells Brut, “So what we found about unconscious gender bias is that it is pervasive. It is something that is out of people's control and it's something that everybody has. So what we're not trying to do is cure people, so to speak, of unconscious gender bias, but rather make people aware and be intentional about the impact that it can have on women's careers… So I've been described as quiet — that I don't speak up enough, that I need to, even though I may be performing really well in my job.”


To combat this, Catalyst and ad agency Burns Group, launched #BiasCorrect — a campaign that encourages people to pay more attention to their words. Joy Altimare, Chief brand officer, explains to Brut, “A man in my office felt as though my tone was off-putting and abrasive. I really felt it was important to be liked at my job. And so, I really took it to heart. And I started to change the way that I spoke to people — but it didn’t feel natural. My natural way is to actually be certain and to be confident. And to be very clear on what I expect from people. Researchers have found that it's even harder for women of color, that whereas a lot of people have heard of this term, “the glass ceiling for women,” for women of color, we call it “the concrete ceiling.” It is not only are they dealing with issues of gender bias, but they're also dealing with issues of race, ethnicity bias.”

In 2018, women earned 85% of what men earned

Catalyst found that gender bias contributes to the pay gap. Fong says it’s not the target of the bias that should carry the burden. Instead, it’s up to leaders and managers to break down institutional barriers and help advance women.