Man or woman, we all face stereotypes associated with our gender, but can you pinpoint the moment it began in your life? Can you remember the moments it began to change you? Can you look outside yourself and see the effects of gender biases on those around you?
This problem affects everyone. Regardless of gender, we’ve all been shaped by the messages, overt and covert, we’ve received over the course of our lives. The messages come from all directions: societal norms, media and advertising, the role models we uphold, random conversations, even well-intended comments from friends and family members shared on a Facebook wall. Over time this input shapes what we think is expected of us, how we fit in, and the way we make choices in the course of our lives. Nobody means harm, but the damage is done. Only yesterday a talented, accomplished female exec told me about a new hire, male, who’d been granted four times as much equity as she’d received when she’d signed on. They joined within a month of each other, have similar backgrounds, and are in peer roles within the company.