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An activity to help you combat the biases women face at work, created by
Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory workshop for all employees, or for any group that wants to focus on understanding the fundamentals of workplace bias.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

Experiences of women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and practice allyship.

Addressing the “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

Bias in hiring

Use this set to educate interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers on how to recognize and reduce bias in the hiring process.

Bias in reviews and promotions

Use this set to train evaluators on reducing bias in reviews and promotions—an area where biased assessments can have a big impact on women’s careers.

Experiences of mothers

Use this set to educate employees about the powerful and damaging biases that working mothers often face.

Bias in company cultures

Use this set to help employees set inclusive norms, approach coworkers with empathy, and push back on acts of bias.

Bias in networking and mentoring

Use this set to educate employees on how bias can affect workplace relationships, including mentorship, sponsorship, networking opportunities, and access to senior leaders.

Bias in virtual workplaces

Use this set to help employees understand and combat the effects of bias in remote work environments.

Intersectional biases

Use this set to educate employees on the compounding biases faced by LGBTQ+ women, women of color, Muslim women, immigrant women, and women with disabilities.

Welcome to the 50 Ways to Fight Bias digital program


Welcome to 50 Ways to Fight Bias, a free digital program to empower all employees to identify and challenge bias head on. Here, we’ll give you everything you need to prepare for and run a successful workshop at your company—and you can learn more about different ways to implement one at your company here.

You can access these two sections at any time using the menu on the left. And as you go through the program, anytime a menu item is mentioned it will be highlighted in bold.

Prepare for your workshop

Everything you need to know to prepare for your workshop.

Get Started

Run your workshop

Everything you need to run a live workshop.

Get Started

How to get setup

Each 50 Ways to Fight Bias workshop consists of four steps that you will guide participants through. You can access any section using the menu on the left under Run your workshop.

1

Set the tone

All 50 Ways workshops begin by level setting with participants on how to encourage an open and respectful discussion.

What you need to do: Use our speaker notes to walk through this part of the program.

2

Introduction to bias

Participants watch a short video that explains the most common types of biases that women face as well as the concept of intersectionality—how women can experience compounding biases due to other aspects of their identity.

What you need to do: We recommend having participants watch our 12-minute bias overview video. Alternatively, you can ask participants to read about bias types on the same page.

3

Group activity

Participants break into small groups to review specific examples of bias—and why each one matters. They take a few minutes to discuss each situation and brainstorm solutions for interrupting the bias. They then learn what experts recommend they do in that situation, along with a short explanation of what's behind the bias.

What you need to do: Before the workshop begins, select a set of digital cards on the Choose a set page that participants will discuss in your workshop.

Decide how to divide participants into mixed-gender groups of 6-8 people. If you’re running a virtual workshop, we recommend that you use breakout rooms—and we have more tips for running this virtually in our speaker notes.

4

Commit to action

As the activity wraps up, participants commit to take One Action to fight bias based on what they learned.

What you need to do: Use our speaker notes to get prepared for this part of the program.

Now that you know how to get set up, continue to:

FINAL STEPS

Final steps

You are almost ready to run your 50 Ways to Fight Bias workshop! Before you start your session, make sure you have taken the steps below.

1

Set of digital cards selected

After you’ve selected a set of digital cards, you can find your set in the menu on the left to walk through live in your workshop. You can also download a PDF version on the Choose a set page if you’re running your workshop offline.

2

Speaker notes downloaded

Our speaker notes walk you through what to say as you run your workshop. It also provides some best practices for leading virtual workshops.


RUN YOUR WORKSHOP

Need more time? Come back to this digital program when you’re ready and select Run your workshop in the menu on the left.

Workshop agenda

Welcome to 50 Ways to Fight Bias, a free digital program to empower all employees to identify and challenge bias head-on. Today’s activity will help you recognize and combat the biases women face at work. It is divided into four parts:

1

Set the tone

2

Introduction to bias

3

Group activity

4

Commit to action

Guiding principles

Bias is complex, and counteracting it takes work. As you engage with the situations in this activity, remember that:

Bias isn’t limited to gender

People also face biases due to their race, sexual orientation, disability, or other aspects of identity—and the compounding discrimination can be much greater than the sum of its parts. This is called intersectionality, and it can impact any situation.

Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough

We all need to look for it and take steps to counteract it. That's why this activity outlines specific examples of the biases women face at work with clear recommendations for what to do.

We all fall into bias traps

People of all genders can consciously or unconsciously make biased comments or behave in other ways that disadvantage women.

Give people the benefit of the doubt

Remember that everyone is here to learn and do better—and an open and honest exchange is part of that process.

Stories should be anonymous

When sharing stories about seeing or experiencing bias, don’t use people’s names.

Some situations may be difficult to hear

Be mindful that some of the situations described in this program may be sensitive or painful for participants.

Learn about bias types

This section covers the most common types of biases that women face at work. Watch the overview video or select a bias type below to learn more about what it is, why it happens, and why it’s harmful.

Play the video An introduction to the common biases women experience (12 minutes)

Overview of key concepts

As you learn more about bias, it’s important to be aware of two key concepts: intersectionality, or how women can experience compounding biases due to other aspects of their identity, and microaggressions, which are subtle or explicit comments and actions that signal disrespect. Click the tiles below for a detailed explanation of each concept.

Choose a set

You can choose from one of 12 sets of digital cards curated for different audiences and workplace interactions. Each set includes icebreakers highlighting research on the biases women face, followed by 15 to 20 specific examples of how it shows up in the workplace. If you’re not sure which set to use, choose the Bias fundamentals set to run an introductory workshop.

Need some direction? Get the moderator guide

Customize a set

Create a custom set of cards from our full library. After you create your set we'll give you a pdf version and a link to view it online.

Customize Now
Bias fundamentals
For managers
For senior leaders
Experiences of women of color
Addressing the “broken rung”
Bias in hiring
Bias in reviews and promotions
Experiences of mothers
Bias in company cultures
Bias in networking and mentoring
Bias in virtual workplaces
Intersectional biases

TEST

You can choose from one of 12 sets of digital cards curated for different audiences and workplace interactions. Each set includes icebreakers highlighting research on the biases women face, followed by 15 to 20 specific examples of how it shows up in the workplace. If you’re not sure which set to use, choose the Bias fundamentals set to run an introductory workshop.

Need some direction? Get the moderator guide

Customize a set

Create a custom set of cards from our full library. After you create your set we'll give you a pdf version and a link to view it online.

Customize Now
Bias fundamentals
For managers
For senior leaders
Experiences of women of color
Addressing the “broken rung”
Bias in hiring
Bias in reviews and promotions
Experiences of mothers
Bias in company cultures
Bias in networking and mentoring
Bias in virtual workplaces
Intersectional biases

Summary: Strategies to fight bias

There are a number of ways to respond to bias when it occurs. Below is a summary of the strategies we’ve discussed today:

  1. 1

    Speak up for someone in the moment

    For example, remind people of a colleague’s talents or ask to hear from someone who was interrupted. Or when someone says something incorrect (e.g., assumes a woman is more junior than she is), matter-of-factly correct them—either in the moment or in private later.

  2. 2

    Ask a probing question

    Ask a question that makes your colleague examine their thinking—“What makes you say that?” “What are some examples of that?” This can help people discover the bias in their own thinking.

  3. 3

    Stick to the facts

    When you can, shift the conversation toward concrete, neutral information to minimize bias. For example, if someone makes a subjective or biased comment in a hiring or promotions meeting, refocus attention back to the list of criteria for the role.

  4. 4

    Explain how bias is in play

    Surface hidden patterns you’ve observed and explain what they mean. Research shows that a matter-of-fact explanation can be an effective way to combat bias. For example, mention to a hiring committee that you've noticed they tend to select men over women with similar abilities, or point out to your manager that women are doing more of the "office housework."

  5. 5

    Advocate for policy or process change

    Talk to HR or leadership at your company and recommend best practices that reduce bias.

Closing activity

Today you’ve heard about a lot of different actions you can take to fight bias in your workplace. Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice.

  • Think of one thing you’re going to do when you see bias at work—or one thing that you’ve learned that you’re going to share with others.
  • Write it down. This is your “One Action.”
  • Taking turns, go around the group and share your One Action.
  • Thank you for participating in this 50 Ways to Fight Bias workshop—and for doing your part to create a more inclusive workplace for all.
Name your set...

1 Choose your Icebreakers

Start creating your set by choosing 3-5 icebreakers. These icebreakers challenge the group to guess the findings of some of the most surprising research on bias against women at work.

2 Choose your cards

Create your set by selecting various situation cards from the 50 Ways to Fight Bias card deck. Use the filters below to view cards within a specific category.

3 Order your deck of cards

From the cards you’ve selected, click and drag them into the order you would like to present. We recommended that you start with situations that are more comfortable for your audience to discuss, followed by those that may be more difficult. Icebreakers always come before Bias cards.

Icebreaker cards

Bias Cards

Sorry, customizing a set is not supported on small screens.

Go back to Set selection
Icebreaker 1/3 : Did you know?

According to Harvard University’s Implicit Association Test, what % of people more readily associate men with “career” and women with “family”?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

Icebreaker 2/3 : Did you know?

In a study of performance reviews, what % of women received negative feedback on their personal style such as “You can sometimes be abrasive”? And what % of men received that same type of feedback?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

66% of women and 1% of men.50

Icebreaker 3/3 : Did you know?

As of September 2020, how many Black women have led Fortune 500 companies?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

Only two—Ursula Burns at Xerox and Mary Winston at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Situation 1/20 : Everyday interactions

A coworker asks, “Who’s the new girl?”

Why it matters

Calling an adult woman a girl in a professional context can make her seem junior and inexperienced—and implies that she doesn’t need to be taken seriously. Comments like this are disrespectful to women.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

You can reply, “The new woman we’ve hired is …” That might be enough to make your colleague rethink their language. Or be more direct: “I’m sure it wasn’t your goal, but calling her a girl can undermine her standing here at work.”

Why it happens

People tend to think that women are less competent than men,384 which leads them to take women less seriously—and to assume they have lower status and less power.385 That can make it seem acceptable to refer to a woman as a girl, when they would not call a man a boy.

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 2/20 : Everyday interactions

Your team is led by a woman, but a colleague from another department assumes that a man on your team is the leader.

Why it matters

When this happens, it reinforces the idea that women aren’t leaders. It can also undermine your team leader and her standing in the group.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Jump into the conversation to correct the record: “[Name] is our team lead.” You can also say something that underscores her leadership abilities or accomplishments—for example, “She heads all our biggest sales efforts.”

Why it happens

People tend to assume men are more senior than the women around them. This is in part because we consciously or unconsciously associate men with leadership more strongly than we do women. It’s also because in many companies, men outnumber women in leadership positions, so this view becomes the norm.

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Situation 3/20 : Everyday interactions

In a lunchtime conversation about politics, a white coworker asks, “I know slavery was horrible, but what does it have to do with what’s happening today?”

Why it matters

The impact of 400 years of slavery in the United States is still powerfully felt by many Black Americans, and non-Black people continue to benefit from its legacy. It is not a distant historical fact; it continues to shape Black people’s lives in tangible, painful ways.311 Hearing someone dismiss that can be jarring, even traumatic, especially in a work setting.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

You might point out that the question minimizes the history of Black Americans. You can share concrete ways that slavery still shapes America today; we mention a few in WHY IT HAPPENS. If they want to know more, consider recommending some sources—for example, the documentary 13th and the essay “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.312

Why it happens

Slavery’s legacy is not widely taught in schools, which means that many white Americans never learn about it in depth.313 In contrast, Black Americans live with the legacy of slavery every day. For example, voter suppression still limits Black political power. Rules that denied loans to Black Americans, known as “redlining,” still hurt Black homeowners.314 And generations of unpaid labor fueled the wealth gap between Black and white Americans—even today, Black women own less than 1% of the wealth of white men.315

Situation 4/20 : Reviews and promotions

A colleague recommends a man for promotion over a woman, saying, “I’m not sure about her long-term commitment. She just got engaged, and I think she wants to have kids soon.”

Why it matters

When coworkers make assumptions about a woman’s commitment to work based on what’s happening in her personal life, it unfairly limits her opportunities—and could cause your company to miss out on a highly committed candidate. It’s also illegal in many states to consider a person’s marital or parental status as a factor in promotions.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Suggest to your colleague that women should decide for themselves whether or not they want to take on new challenges at work. If you’re feeling bold, you can also point out the double standard: “It’s hard to imagine that we’d say that about a man who recently got engaged.”

Why it happens

When women get engaged or married, studies show that they start to experience maternal bias.125 People—consciously or unconsciously—start to question their competence and commitment, based on the mistaken belief that women can’t be fully present at work if they have family responsibilities at home.126

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 5/20 : Hiring

After an interview, a coworker gives a low rating to an appropriately dressed Black woman because “she did not look professional.”218

Why it matters

Black women can miss out on jobs, promotions, and other opportunities because of arbitrary judgments about their appearance.219 To avoid this penalty, many Black women say they have to dress more formally than their colleagues and spend more money on hair and accessories.220

LeanIn.Org thanks Minda Harts for her valuable contribution to this card

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Ask your coworker to explain what they mean by “not professional.” Say that you think she looked appropriate, then refocus the discussion: “Let’s talk about her qualifications.” Consider speaking to your manager or HR team about making sure your company sets clear hiring criteria ahead of time, so subjective opinions like this don’t carry weight. It can also be helpful to appoint a “criteria monitor” in hiring meetings to make sure everyone evaluates candidates by the same standards.221

Why it happens

People often view white men as more competent and leader-like than women or Black people.222 This can mean that Black women are automatically considered less hirable, regardless of what they wear. In addition, many people wrongly view Black women’s natural hair as unprofessional.223 This bias is so strong that Black women who wear natural hairstyles are less likely to be hired or promoted than those who do not.224

Situation 6/20 : Everyday interactions

Your team holds regular happy hours after work for networking and bonding at a local bar. You realize that one colleague, a Muslim woman, has never come.

Why it matters

Some Muslims avoid alcohol and may therefore feel uncomfortable in a bar.68 If most networking events are held in bars, it means they miss out on the team bonding that can lead to career opportunities.69 It can also send a message that employees who don’t drink—and other groups like caregivers who need to be home soon after work—are not considered when social events are planned.70

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Talk to your team leader and explain WHY IT MATTERS. Encourage them to plan a wide range of events that leave out as few people as possible. For example, if your team goes out every week to a bar, consider moving it to a restaurant sometimes. Move a few evening events to lunchtime so working parents can join. And make the changes with sensitivity, so no one gets blamed. If happy hours are simply canceled, it may create bad feelings among some employees.71

Why it happens

Many teams—and companies—don’t realize how much thoughtfulness is needed to ensure that work events are inclusive to as many employees as possible. This might happen because teams fall into the habit of replicating bonding events that have been offered for decades—many of which were designed for less diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Situation 7/20 : Everyday interactions

During lunch a client asks your colleague, “What does your husband do?” Your colleague is a lesbian and has a wife.

Why it matters

The question assumes your colleague is straight and married, which puts lesbians, bisexual women, and single women in an awkward situation. Your lesbian colleague now has to correct a client and come out to them at the same time. The question could also make your lesbian colleague feel at least somewhat uncomfortable or marginalized.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

If your colleague answers that she has a wife, not a husband, you can support her by responding warmly and asking questions, as you would when someone straight talks about their family. This signals your support, and it’s also helpful because people often experience distressing, awkward silences when they refer to their same-sex partners at work. However she responds, do your best to be a good listener, ask questions, and fill the silence.

Why it happens

Often straight people, even those who mean well, can assume that others around them are also straight. But the comment could have a darker motive and reflect prejudice against gay people. Either way, questions like this are far too common. More than 60% of LGBTQ+ people say they’ve had to correct colleagues’ assumptions about their personal lives, and nearly half say that in the past month, they’ve had to come out at work at least once a week.85

Situation 8/20 : Meeting dynamics

You often see biased behavior on your team, and your manager lets it go unchallenged.

Why it matters

When employees have a manager who regularly challenges bias, they are more likely to think that everyone has an equal chance to advance—and women are almost twice as likely to think they have the same opportunities as their peers.121 Yet less than a third of employees say that managers at their company often challenge biased language and behavior when they hear or see it.122

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Talk to your manager about what you’re seeing and the important role they play in setting workplace norms. You might say, “The team really respects you. If you step in when you hear these comments, it will push everyone to be more thoughtful.” You can also talk to senior leadership at your company and explain WHY IT MATTERS.

Why it happens

Your manager may not realize that certain comments and actions are biased. Less than half of managers have received anti-bias training.123 When people understand how bias works, they are able to make fairer decisions and more clearly see bias when it crops up. 124 There are other possible reasons, too. Managers may not realize the critical role they can play in creating an inclusive workplace—or may not be bought into your company’s diversity efforts.

Situation 9/20 : Hiring

Your colleague advocates for a job candidate with no gap in her résumé over another with a gap from when she was a full-time mom.

Why it matters

Companies that look negatively on job applicants who take time off to raise kids risk missing out on qualified candidates—in particular, women. Mothers are more likely than fathers to take time off for childcare, and they face harsher career penalties when they do.235

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Push for the candidates to be evaluated on their skills and experience, without taking into account the time taken off for caregiving.

Longer term, recommend that your team use standardized hiring criteria and apply them consistently to all candidates. That can help ensure you judge everyone by the same yardstick.236

Why it happens

When a woman becomes a mother, it can make others think that she’s less committed to her career—even less competent.237 As a result, she is often held to higher standards and offered fewer opportunities.238 Seeing a gap in a woman’s résumé can trigger this maternal bias and hurt her chances of being hired.239

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 10/20 : Meeting dynamics

In a meeting, a woman strongly disagrees with a man about how to approach a problem. He says, “We can’t talk about this anymore. She’s getting too emotional.”

Why it matters

In a healthy workplace, debates happen all the time—and often result in better ideas, clearer strategies, and stronger teams. Shutting down debate can be counterproductive to your company’s goals. Plus, being tagged as overly emotional can diminish a woman’s standing at work—and send a message to other women that they shouldn’t speak freely.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Speak up. You can say something to support the woman’s point of view: “I think [Name] is making a good point. We should consider it.” You can also push back on the “too emotional” comment directly: “She doesn’t seem too emotional to me. Let’s keep talking.”

Or you can help your team get back to basics: “We’re all just trying to come up with the best approach. Let’s continue this conversation so we can land on the right solution together.”

Why it happens

Women tend to be stereotyped as overly emotional, while men tend to be viewed as rational—and therefore more professional and better suited to lead.91 This dynamic can cause people to see a woman with an opinion—especially if she expresses it with conviction—as being overly emotional, while the same view voiced by a man is considered reasonable.92 Women of color can face different and more acute variations of this bias, with Black women often labeled as “angry” and Latinas as “fiery.”93

Situation 11/20 : Everyday interactions

Your manager suggests having a “powwow.”

Why it matters

This is a misuse of the word “powwow,” a social gathering that often holds spiritual significance for Native American people. Misusing words and phrases like “powwow,” “spirit animal,” and “low man on the totem pole” may feel harmless to non–Native Americans. But to Native Americans, it can seem mocking and derogatory.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Speak up in the moment by saying, “I’m happy to have a meeting, but I want to mention one thing. You might not know this, but the word ‘powwow’ has real meaning to Native Americans. It doesn’t simply mean a meeting.” You can also explain WHY IT MATTERS. Or you could ask, “Are you trying to say you want to have a meeting?” This can prompt your manager to reflect on their language choice.

Why it happens

This type of cultural appropriation occurs when there is a power imbalance between cultures. People from a dominant culture feel able to use parts of a marginalized culture in any way they choose, including in ways that rob it of its original meaning.90

Situation 12/20 : Everyday interactions

You see a colleague introduce a senior woman as “the nicest person in the office” without mentioning her job title or accomplishments.

Why it matters

When women are described only as “nice,” it can downplay their capabilities and reinforce the stereotype that women are nurturers—as opposed to leaders.379 This can be particularly undermining to senior-level women.

LeanIn.Org thanks the Stanford Women’s Leadership Lab for their valuable contribution to this card

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Try to round out the compliment with a reference to the woman’s overall performance. If she recently led a project or is known to be a strong manager, say so. If you believe the woman’s personality is an asset to the company, you can make that point, too. For example, you might say, “Because of her way with clients, we’ve really expanded our customer base.” Just make sure to link it to a positive business outcome.

Why it happens

Because of traditional stereotypes that women are nurturing and communal, colleagues often pay more attention to their personality traits. This means that women’s hard skills, accomplishments, and leadership capabilities often go overlooked, which can slow their advancement.380

Situation 13/20 : Everyday interactions

A newly hired trans woman asks where the restroom is and a colleague says, “They’re over there—I’m not sure which one you want to use.”

Why it matters

The second part of the comment is disrespectful. It implies that a trans woman’s restroom choice is OK to comment on publicly and that her gender is somehow in question. Unfortunately, trans women often face complaints or comments about their choice of bathroom, which can make them feel uncomfortable and judged.97

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Some microaggressions are best addressed in the moment. In this case, it may be more respectful to say something supportive to your new colleague in private, such as, “Please feel free to use any restroom you want, and if you ever feel uncomfortable, I’m here to help.” Later, explain to your colleague who made the comment that it’s best not to speculate on which restroom someone uses, because you may be wrong. Experts say that the best approach is to tell everyone where every restroom is—women’s, men’s, and all-gender.

Why it happens

Your colleague may have made this comment to intentionally cause discomfort because they are prejudiced against trans women.98 But more likely, they were expressing an unconscious bias that trans women are different and that this is somehow OK to comment on.99 In addition, they may have been genuinely confused because they are not informed about these issues.

Situation 14/20 : Everyday interactions

A coworker confides in you, “I honestly just find it easier to work with men.”

Why it matters

Your colleague’s preference for working with men could lead them—consciously or unconsciously—to overlook talented women. When this happens, women can miss career opportunities, and your coworker can miss the chance to work with women from whom they might learn something.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

A comment like this may signal that your coworker thinks women are less talented or less likeable than men. You can ask, “What makes you say that?” When people are asked to explain themselves, it sometimes leads them to rethink their position. You can also explain why it happens—it can be eye-opening to understand how bias works—or share your own perspective: “I’ve had great experiences working with women.” Even if you can’t convince them to think differently, you can push back on their point of view.

Why it happens

Your colleague may say this because of performance bias, which can lead them to incorrectly assume that men are more competent than women.381 Likeability bias can lead them to feel that competent women are less likeable and therefore harder to work with.382 And if your colleague is a man, his comment may be rooted in affinity bias—he may prefer to work with people like himself.383

Situation 15/20 : Meeting dynamics

During a presentation, a Black woman is repeatedly interrupted by someone who has less expertise on the subject she’s talking about.

Why it matters

In addition to being disruptive to the woman presenting and making it harder for everyone to follow her main points, behavior like this is disrespectful. If it goes unchallenged, it can signal that it’s OK to treat women of color this way.320

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

If you can, speak up in the moment. You could say, “I would really like to hear [Name]’s thinking—she’s an expert in this area. Let’s hold the questions until she gets to the end of her presentation.” You can also ask an on-topic question that allows her to demonstrate her expertise.

Why it happens

Compared to people of other races and ethnicities, Black women are the most likely to have their judgment questioned in their area of expertise and to be asked to prove their competence.321 Women of all races also tend to be interrupted far more often than men, and women of color even more so.322 These dynamics are fueled by performance bias—the belief that women and people of color are less competent than white men.323 Black women are particularly impacted by this bias because they are both women and Black.324

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 16/20 : Hiring

After interviewing an out lesbian woman, a manager at your company says he didn’t click with her.

Why it matters

Comments about “clicking” or “culture fit” in a hiring process are vague and subjective, and this opens the door to bias.132 As a result, good candidates might get dismissed without a detailed look at their qualifications. This could mean that your company ends up with less diverse, less qualified teams.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Ask the manager if the candidate met the criteria for the role. The best way to reduce bias in hiring is to evaluate all candidates for a role based on the same predefined set of criteria.133 And you could also explain to him WHY IT MATTERS.

Why it happens

This manager may be influenced by homophobia, a conscious or unconscious dislike for lesbian and gay people. His comment may also be fueled by affinity bias, which leads us to gravitate toward people like ourselves and to avoid or even dislike those who are different.134 As a result, gay and lesbian people tend to face unfair barriers to getting hired. For example, one study found that straight hiring managers spend 50% longer interviewing straight candidates than gay candidates.135

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Situation 17/20 : Everyday interactions

You’re talking to a woman of color on your team. A coworker from another team joins you and assumes she is much more junior than she really is.

Why it matters

This happens to women more than men—and to women of color most of all.303 Being mistaken for a more junior employee can feel disrespectful, even humiliating. Over time, the bad feelings from slights like this can add up and leave employees feeling unhappy and more likely to leave their job.304

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Correct the record by stating the woman’s actual title. If it feels right, add some context that highlights her contributions to your company—for example, “She’s running point on our largest initiative this quarter” or “She’s our COO’s right-hand person.”

Longer term, consider recommending that the company implement bias training, which can help people avoid assumptions like this one.305

Why it happens

Research shows that we strongly associate men with leadership—but not always women.306 Women are twice as likely as men to be mistaken for someone much more junior—and women of color are often the most likely to experience this.307

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 18/20 : Meeting dynamics

You’re in a meeting and a woman colleague is spoken over or interrupted.

Why it matters

If women’s ideas aren’t heard, it can make it harder for them to be perceived as key contributors, which can harm their career progression. When teams miss out on women’s insights, it can also mean your company is missing out. Teams that foster diverse points of view often have better ideas and get more done.57

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

When a woman gets interrupted, speak up. You might say, “I’d like to hear the rest of [Name’s] thoughts” or “[Name] raised an important point. I’d like to consider it further before we move on.”

If you’re leading a meeting, reduce interruptions by following an agenda and asking people to contribute in a structured way. You might say, “Let’s go around the room and get everyone’s ideas.” You can also invite individual women in the room to contribute their opinions.

Why it happens

People tend to value women’s contributions less than men’s.58 One way this plays out is in meetings, where women—and in particular, women of color—are interrupted more and get less time to speak than men do.59

Rooted in: Attribution bias

Situation 19/20 : Everyday interactions

You hear a woman being criticized for her leadership style—for example, being called “aggressive” or “out for herself.”

Why it matters

When women assert themselves—for example, by speaking in a direct style or promoting their ideas—they often get a negative reaction. In contrast, men do not. This discrepancy can have a big impact on women’s careers. Ask yourself who you’re more likely to support and promote, the man with high marks across the board or the woman who gets high marks for her performance but is not as well liked.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

When you hear someone criticize a woman for asserting herself, ask them about it: “That’s interesting. Would you have that reaction if a man did the same thing?” It may also be worth pointing out that being focused and decisive about moving the business forward is what’s expected of leaders.

Why it happens

Because of stereotypical expectations that women should be selfless and giving, they can face criticism when they appear to be “out for themselves”—for example, when they compete for a bigger job.202 By contrast, we expect men to be driven and ambitious, and we tend to think well of them when they show those qualities.203

Rooted in: Likeability bias

Situation 20/20 : Everyday interactions

Someone complains to you that a new dad on the team is taking too much of his allotted family leave.

Why it matters

All workers—men too!—should be able to spend time with their families, whether that’s to bond with new babies, care for sick kids, or be there for aging parents. When workplaces have generous family leave policies, employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to stay on staff.184 Plus, when men don’t use their leave, it makes it harder for women to use theirs without judgment.

Bias fundamentals

Use this set to run an introductory session for all employees, or for any group that has limited time and only plans to discuss 15 to 20 cards.

What to do

Stand up for your colleague on leave. Point out WHY IT MATTERS—how family leave is good for workers, families, and companies.185 More importantly, remind them that no one should be forced to choose between being a good employee and a good parent.

Why it happens

Working fathers can face pushback for spending time with their kids. They tend to receive lower performance ratings and experience steeper reductions in future earnings than mothers who take the same amount of leave.186 Much like maternal bias, this pushback is rooted in gender stereotypes. Moms are expected to be more committed to family and less to their careers.187 But the reverse is true for fathers, and when they go against that expectation by prioritizing family, they are penalized.188

Icebreaker 1/2 : Did you know?

In a study of performance reviews, what % of women received negative feedback on their personal style such as “You can sometimes be abrasive”? And what % of men received that same type of feedback?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

66% of women and 1% of men.50

Situation 0/22 : Meeting dynamics

Your manager schedules a virtual team meeting at an hour when your coworker has blocked off time on her calendar to care for her young children.

Why it matters

This can seriously interfere with your coworker’s ability to balance work and life. Many people plan ahead with partners or caregivers, and last-minute changes can be disruptive or impossible. It can also contribute to a feeling of being “always on”—which more than 30 percent of employees name as one of the biggest downsides to remote work in 2020.161 And if situations like this happen often, they can lead to stress or burnout.162

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Remind your manager of your coworker’s schedule constraint and suggest an alternate time. You could also mention how blocking time like this is vital for maintaining work-life balance and explain that practices like these can help employees be more productive and feel more committed to the company.163

Why it happens

This reflects the norm that the “ideal worker” is always available and doesn’t need to take time away from work to care for family, pursue personal interests, or simply recharge.164 Decades of research on the ideal worker show that this norm can harm mothers more than fathers, since mothers often do more caregiving.165

Icebreaker 3/2 : Did you know?

For every 100 men promoted to manager, how many Black women are promoted?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

Only 58 Black women.119

Situation 2/22 : Hiring

A colleague advocates for a man with strong potential over a woman with proven experience.

Why it matters

When a more experienced candidate is passed up in favor of someone with less experience, your company can miss out on valuable wisdom, talent, and skill. And in this case, the woman loses out on an opportunity that she’s well suited for.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Point out how experienced the woman is for the role and note the value of proven experience over potential. You might also take a moment to explain WHY IT HAPPENS and WHY IT MATTERS.

Longer term, it’s worth recommending that everyone on your team aligns ahead of time on clear, objective criteria for open roles, then uses them to evaluate all job candidates. This minimizes bias by making sure that every candidate is held to the same standard.127

Why it happens

Research shows that people often hire or promote men based on their potential, but for women, potential isn’t enough. Women are often held to a higher standard and need to show more evidence of their competence to get hired or promoted.128

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 3/22 : Meeting dynamics

You often see biased behavior on your team, and your manager lets it go unchallenged.

Why it matters

When employees have a manager who regularly challenges bias, they are more likely to think that everyone has an equal chance to advance—and women are almost twice as likely to think they have the same opportunities as their peers.121 Yet less than a third of employees say that managers at their company often challenge biased language and behavior when they hear or see it.122

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Talk to your manager about what you’re seeing and the important role they play in setting workplace norms. You might say, “The team really respects you. If you step in when you hear these comments, it will push everyone to be more thoughtful.” You can also talk to senior leadership at your company and explain WHY IT MATTERS.

Why it happens

Your manager may not realize that certain comments and actions are biased. Less than half of managers have received anti-bias training.123 When people understand how bias works, they are able to make fairer decisions and more clearly see bias when it crops up. 124 There are other possible reasons, too. Managers may not realize the critical role they can play in creating an inclusive workplace—or may not be bought into your company’s diversity efforts.

Situation 4/22 : Everyday interactions

In a lunchtime conversation about politics, a white coworker asks, “I know slavery was horrible, but what does it have to do with what’s happening today?”

Why it matters

The impact of 400 years of slavery in the United States is still powerfully felt by many Black Americans, and non-Black people continue to benefit from its legacy. It is not a distant historical fact; it continues to shape Black people’s lives in tangible, painful ways.311 Hearing someone dismiss that can be jarring, even traumatic, especially in a work setting.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

You might point out that the question minimizes the history of Black Americans. You can share concrete ways that slavery still shapes America today; we mention a few in WHY IT HAPPENS. If they want to know more, consider recommending some sources—for example, the documentary 13th and the essay “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.312

Why it happens

Slavery’s legacy is not widely taught in schools, which means that many white Americans never learn about it in depth.313 In contrast, Black Americans live with the legacy of slavery every day. For example, voter suppression still limits Black political power. Rules that denied loans to Black Americans, known as “redlining,” still hurt Black homeowners.314 And generations of unpaid labor fueled the wealth gap between Black and white Americans—even today, Black women own less than 1% of the wealth of white men.315

Situation 5/22 : Everyday interactions

Your team is led by a woman, but a colleague from another department assumes that a man on your team is the leader.

Why it matters

When this happens, it reinforces the idea that women aren’t leaders. It can also undermine your team leader and her standing in the group.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Jump into the conversation to correct the record: “[Name] is our team lead.” You can also say something that underscores her leadership abilities or accomplishments—for example, “She heads all our biggest sales efforts.”

Why it happens

People tend to assume men are more senior than the women around them. This is in part because we consciously or unconsciously associate men with leadership more strongly than we do women. It’s also because in many companies, men outnumber women in leadership positions, so this view becomes the norm.

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Situation 6/22 : Everyday interactions

A newly hired trans woman asks where the restroom is and a colleague says, “They’re over there—I’m not sure which one you want to use.”

Why it matters

The second part of the comment is disrespectful. It implies that a trans woman’s restroom choice is OK to comment on publicly and that her gender is somehow in question. Unfortunately, trans women often face complaints or comments about their choice of bathroom, which can make them feel uncomfortable and judged.97

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Some microaggressions are best addressed in the moment. In this case, it may be more respectful to say something supportive to your new colleague in private, such as, “Please feel free to use any restroom you want, and if you ever feel uncomfortable, I’m here to help.” Later, explain to your colleague who made the comment that it’s best not to speculate on which restroom someone uses, because you may be wrong. Experts say that the best approach is to tell everyone where every restroom is—women’s, men’s, and all-gender.

Why it happens

Your colleague may have made this comment to intentionally cause discomfort because they are prejudiced against trans women.98 But more likely, they were expressing an unconscious bias that trans women are different and that this is somehow OK to comment on.99 In addition, they may have been genuinely confused because they are not informed about these issues.

Situation 7/22 : Everyday interactions

During lunch a client asks your colleague, “What does your husband do?” Your colleague is a lesbian and has a wife.

Why it matters

The question assumes your colleague is straight and married, which puts lesbians, bisexual women, and single women in an awkward situation. Your lesbian colleague now has to correct a client and come out to them at the same time. The question could also make your lesbian colleague feel at least somewhat uncomfortable or marginalized.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

If your colleague answers that she has a wife, not a husband, you can support her by responding warmly and asking questions, as you would when someone straight talks about their family. This signals your support, and it’s also helpful because people often experience distressing, awkward silences when they refer to their same-sex partners at work. However she responds, do your best to be a good listener, ask questions, and fill the silence.

Why it happens

Often straight people, even those who mean well, can assume that others around them are also straight. But the comment could have a darker motive and reflect prejudice against gay people. Either way, questions like this are far too common. More than 60% of LGBTQ+ people say they’ve had to correct colleagues’ assumptions about their personal lives, and nearly half say that in the past month, they’ve had to come out at work at least once a week.85

Situation 8/22 : Everyday interactions

Your boss questions your colleague’s knowledge of something firmly in her area of expertise.

Why it matters

On its own, this incident may seem inconsequential. But moments like this add up: women are twice as likely as men to have their competence questioned at work.142 Over time, it can make them feel less happy in their jobs and more likely to consider leaving.143

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Support the woman by highlighting her expertise. You can say something like, “You may not know this, but [Name] is our resident expert on the topic” or “[Name] actually wrote a report about this last year.”

Longer term, consider making a more concerted effort to highlight the expertise of all the women on your team—not only in the moment, but regularly. Seek their insights in meetings and point people with relevant questions in their direction.

Why it happens

People tend to overestimate men’s performance and underestimate women’s.144 As a result, they are more likely to doubt women’s competence and question their judgment.145 Certain groups, including Black women, Latinas, and women with disabilities, tend to have their expertise questioned even more frequently than other women. They are often assumed to be less skilled because of racist or ableist stereotypes.146

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 9/22 : Everyday interactions

Your team holds regular happy hours after work for networking and bonding at a local bar. You realize that one colleague, a Muslim woman, has never come.

Why it matters

Some Muslims avoid alcohol and may therefore feel uncomfortable in a bar.68 If most networking events are held in bars, it means they miss out on the team bonding that can lead to career opportunities.69 It can also send a message that employees who don’t drink—and other groups like caregivers who need to be home soon after work—are not considered when social events are planned.70

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Talk to your team leader and explain WHY IT MATTERS. Encourage them to plan a wide range of events that leave out as few people as possible. For example, if your team goes out every week to a bar, consider moving it to a restaurant sometimes. Move a few evening events to lunchtime so working parents can join. And make the changes with sensitivity, so no one gets blamed. If happy hours are simply canceled, it may create bad feelings among some employees.71

Why it happens

Many teams—and companies—don’t realize how much thoughtfulness is needed to ensure that work events are inclusive to as many employees as possible. This might happen because teams fall into the habit of replicating bonding events that have been offered for decades—many of which were designed for less diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Situation 10/22 : Hiring

Your colleague advocates for a job candidate with no gap in her résumé over another with a gap from when she was a full-time mom.

Why it matters

Companies that look negatively on job applicants who take time off to raise kids risk missing out on qualified candidates—in particular, women. Mothers are more likely than fathers to take time off for childcare, and they face harsher career penalties when they do.235

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Push for the candidates to be evaluated on their skills and experience, without taking into account the time taken off for caregiving.

Longer term, recommend that your team use standardized hiring criteria and apply them consistently to all candidates. That can help ensure you judge everyone by the same yardstick.236

Why it happens

When a woman becomes a mother, it can make others think that she’s less committed to her career—even less competent.237 As a result, she is often held to higher standards and offered fewer opportunities.238 Seeing a gap in a woman’s résumé can trigger this maternal bias and hurt her chances of being hired.239

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 11/22 : Everyday interactions

A coworker comments that an LGBTQ woman on your team doesn’t “look gay.”

Why it matters

This comment plays into stereotypes about what LGBTQ people do and don’t look like. Demeaning comments like this can make LGBTQ people feel humiliated—and more likely to leave their jobs.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

You can push back in a few ways. You can speak to the hurtful nature of the remark: “I think it would make [Name] feel really uncomfortable to hear you say that.” You can even say, “That’s pretty stereotypical.” You can also make a general point about how commenting on a coworker’s sexual identity is nearly always inappropriate.

Why it happens

LGBTQ people, like other marginalized groups, deal frequently with age-old stereotypes about how they look, talk, and act. Stereotypes are dehumanizing, because they treat a person like a caricature instead of an individual. The workplace is not immune from these outdated notions: nearly a quarter of lesbian women report hearing demeaning comments at work.

Closing activity

Today you’ve heard about a lot of different actions you can take to fight bias in your workplace. Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice.

  • Think of one thing you’re going to do when you see bias at work—or one thing that you’ve learned that you’re going to share with others.
  • Write it down. This is your “one action.”
  • Taking turns, go around the group and share your one action.
Situation 13/22 : Everyday interactions

In a meeting, a colleague tells an Asian woman they hope she won’t be away on maternity leave for long, since the team “can’t manage without her.”

Why it matters

This comment may make your coworker feel pressure to cut her maternity leave short, which could negatively impact her health.152 It could even make her feel that her job might be in jeopardy unless she returns early.153 This could in turn harm your company. Stress about maternity leave can make valuable employees less productive and less happy with their jobs.154

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

You should signal that you support your pregnant coworker taking her full leave. For example, you might say, “We’ll really miss you, [Name,] but I hope you take all your leave! You deserve it.” You could also offer to help her plan coverage for when she’s gone. You may want to take a moment to explain WHY IT MATTERS to the colleague who made the comment. In addition, you could ask HR to reassure the woman that she has every right to take all her leave and that the company will keep her projects on track while she’s out.155

Why it happens

Asian women are more likely than other groups to be discouraged from taking family leave.156 This happens because they are often stereotyped as worker bees who are willing to prioritize work over family.157 But while this happens to Asian women more than women overall, it can happen to anyone (men too) because of beliefs that the “ideal worker” should be willing to sacrifice their personal life to advance their career.158

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 14/22 : Everyday interactions

You impulsively reach out and touch a coworker’s tattoo.

Why it matters

For some people, being touched isn’t a big deal. For others, it understandably is. Depending on the situation, it can feel anywhere from uncomfortable to violating. In some cases, it can even constitute harassment.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Say, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have touched you without asking” and commit to being more thoughtful moving forward. Never enter someone’s personal space without knowing they’re OK with it. Even if they say they are, be aware that they may feel pressure to agree, especially if you’re in a position of power. Ideally, your company also has guidelines for respectful behavior that you can use to inform your thinking.371 And when in doubt, keep your hands to yourself.

Why it happens

Sometimes, we touch people in celebration or friendship, like a high five or a quick hug. This can be perfectly fine, and even welcomed. But some touches suggest we see another person as a novelty—like when we touch a Black woman’s hair, a pregnant woman’s belly, or a disabled person’s wheelchair—and this is demeaning and disrespectful. Some touches are also sexual in nature, and that is never OK at work.

Situation 15/22 : Reviews and promotions

A manager describes a woman who reports to her as “overly ambitious” when she asks for a promotion.

Why it matters

When a woman is criticized for competing for a promotion, it can have a negative impact on her and on the company as a whole. She may miss out on the chance to grow at work. Other women may hear the message that they shouldn’t ask for promotions. And the company may miss an opportunity to advance a talented team member and make her feel valued.

LeanIn.Org thanks Paradigm for their valuable contribution to this card

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Prompt your colleague to explain her thinking. For example, you can say, “Generally, I think we like ambition as a company. Why does it bother you in this case?” You can also suggest that there may be a double standard at work by saying something like, “How do you feel when a man on your team asks for a promotion?” And if you think that women at your workplace are often criticized when they seek promotions, this would be a good opportunity to say so.

Why it happens

Because of stereotypical expectations that women should be selfless and giving, they can face criticism when they appear to be “out for themselves”—for example, when they compete for a bigger job.72 By contrast, we expect men to be driven and ambitious, and we tend to think well of them when they show those qualities.73

Rooted in: Likeability bias

Situation 16/22 : Everyday interactions

You overhear a coworker confuse the names of the only two Black women in your company.298

Why it matters

This mistake could diminish the women’s value in the eyes of those who hear it. It can also signal disrespect for Black women at the company more broadly because, consciously or unconsciously, it is a form of stereotyping. And it can make the women feel that their names are not considered worth learning or that they are viewed as interchangeable.

LeanIn.Org thanks Minda Harts for her valuable contribution to this card

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

You can correct the mistake in the moment: “You’re confusing Maya with Alicia. They’re very different! You should get to know them.”299 If that doesn’t work and your coworker continues to confuse them, you might need to talk to your manager. Explain WHY IT MATTERS and suggest that someone speak to them about trying harder to get this right.

Why it happens

Decades of research show that people often find it harder to differentiate between people of another race than people of their own race.300 This is called “own-race bias.”301 Research also suggests that people are less likely to remember employees with less power—and Black women (and people of color generally) are less likely to be viewed as powerful in their organizations.302

Situation 17/22 : Hiring

In a meeting about hiring, colleagues agree the most qualified candidate is a trans woman but worry about how clients will respond.

Why it matters

It’s inappropriate to speculate about how clients would respond to someone’s gender identity, just as it would be about their religious faith or ethnicity.166 The discussion also harms company culture, because it could make it feel acceptable to discriminate against trans people.167

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Remind the group that they all agreed that she was the most qualified candidate and push back against the idea that you should give up on the strongest hire. You can also point to some of her specific qualifications and experience that fit the criteria for the role.

Why it happens

Transgender people often experience workplace mistreatment, including difficulties getting hired and promoted. This mistreatment is often due in part to concerns that clients and other employees have negative attitudes toward transgender people.168 In this case, allowing such concerns to determine who gets hired results in discrimination against trans women.169

Situation 18/22 : Everyday Interactions

The day after a high-profile killing of a Black person by the police, coworkers are discussing the news but nobody brings up this story.

Why it matters

The silence suggests that non-Black colleagues are not outraged at the injustice or that they aren’t aware of the Black community’s grief and trauma.74 Left unaddressed, these perceptions—accurate or not—can contribute to a workplace where Black employees feel like they don’t belong.75 When a Black person is killed by the police, it reminds all Black people of the violence that threatens their lives. It can make it hard to focus on work, and depression and anxiety can follow.76

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

In the moment, say something. Mention the incident and how awful it was. Depending on your relationships with Black coworkers, let them know you are there to talk if they need to.77 Be understanding if Black coworkers seem distracted or not themselves. In the longer term, you can further educate yourself on the incident by reading about it in a Black news outlet, such as Blavity or Essence. If you’re a manager, check in with Black members of your team to see how they’re doing and if they need any additional support.

Why it happens

Non-Black coworkers may believe it’s insensitive to mention incidents of police violence toward Black people. But in fact, doing so conveys that they care.78 They also may not realize how traumatic these events are to the entire Black community,79 perhaps seeing them as isolated one-offs instead of ongoing systemic abuse.

Situation 19/22 : Everyday interactions

You hear a woman being criticized for her leadership style—for example, being called “aggressive” or “out for herself.”

Why it matters

When women assert themselves—for example, by speaking in a direct style or promoting their ideas—they often get a negative reaction. In contrast, men do not. This discrepancy can have a big impact on women’s careers. Ask yourself who you’re more likely to support and promote, the man with high marks across the board or the woman who gets high marks for her performance but is not as well liked.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

When you hear someone criticize a woman for asserting herself, ask them about it: “That’s interesting. Would you have that reaction if a man did the same thing?” It may also be worth pointing out that being focused and decisive about moving the business forward is what’s expected of leaders.

Why it happens

Because of stereotypical expectations that women should be selfless and giving, they can face criticism when they appear to be “out for themselves”—for example, when they compete for a bigger job.202 By contrast, we expect men to be driven and ambitious, and we tend to think well of them when they show those qualities.203

Rooted in: Likeability bias

Situation 20/22 : Everyday interactions

A coworker asks a woman to pick up food for an office party, even though that’s not her job.

Why it matters

Women are expected to do more “office housework” than men, or work that’s not part of their core job.375 Doing office housework takes women away from their core responsibilities and suggests their time isn’t as valuable, which can be demeaning.376

LeanIn.Org thanks the Stanford Women’s Leadership Lab for their valuable contribution to this card

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Say something like, “That’s not really [Name’s] job.” Then suggest a solution that distributes the work more fairly: “Let’s make this party a potluck” or “Let’s switch things up and choose someone else this time.” If your coworker pushes back, explain how women are more likely to be asked to do these tasks and why it’s unfair.

As a longer-term solution, take note of who does the office housework on your team. If there are gender, racial, or other disparities, talk to your manager about rotating these tasks so they don’t fall heavily on any one group.

Why it happens

Tasks like taking notes, planning events, and onboarding new hires tend to be seen as “women’s work” due to stereotypes that women are more communal and giving than men.377 When women decline requests for help, they are often penalized for it, while men can say no with less pushback.378

Situation 21/22 : Reviews and promotions

When reviewing candidates for promotion to a senior role, a member of the committee comments that an Asian woman “doesn’t seem like a leader.”

Why it matters

If this statement isn’t supported by any evidence, it’s unfair to the woman and reinforces a common bias against Asian women as leaders. It could cause your colleague to miss out on a job opportunity and your company to miss out on a talented leader.

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

Ask your colleague, “What leadership traits do you think she’s missing?” Asking someone to give evidence for their thinking can prompt them to question any biased assumptions. If you know examples of her leadership, mention them. To help reduce bias in future promotions, talk to your HR team about the importance of consistently using a list of clear criteria to assess all candidates.199

Why it happens

When people make vague comments like “doesn’t seem like a leader,” they are often drawing on gut feelings rather than evidence from the person’s experience or skill set. This vagueness opens the door to bias.200 The comment may also be rooted in the false stereotype that Asian American women are submissive and lack the communication skills for leadership roles.201

Situation 22/22 : Everyday interactions

When it’s suggested that a Latina colleague present at a client meeting, someone says, “She has a strong accent.”

Why it matters

This comment could torpedo your Latina coworker’s chance to present at the meeting, which would be a major missed opportunity for her to prove her skills and show her value to the company. This is how bias against Latinx accents harms people: it can mean that Latinx Americans miss out on assignments, jobs, and promotions for which they are qualified.331

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

You could say that you don’t have any trouble understanding her and that you think she’d do a great job at the meeting. You could also ask whether there’s a problem with her expertise on the subject matter—if she knows the topic well, her accent shouldn’t make a difference. You can also explain WHY IT MATTERS.

Why it happens

Many people unconsciously assume a Latinx accent means a person has poor language skills, even if their grammar and word choice are perfectly correct. This bias particularly hurts Latinas: In the U.S., people tend to perceive women with Latinx accents as less intelligent and knowledgeable than other women or Latino men.332 Your colleague may also be hearing an accent where there isn’t one: Research shows that people can falsely perceive an accent when a person of color speaks completely unaccented American English.

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 23/22 : Everyday Interactions

A coworker asks you if a colleague, who is a woman of color, was hired to work with the “minority” clients.345

Why it matters

This question is “othering”—that is, implies that people of color are different or outsiders. It may also suggest that your colleague was hired simply because she’s a woman of color, not because she’s qualified to do the job.

LeanIn.Org thanks Minda Harts for her valuable contribution to this card

For managers

Use this set to provide managers with concrete steps for fighting bias and creating an inclusive team culture.

What to do

You could ask your coworker what makes them think that, or counter their bias by mentioning some of the specific skills and experiences the woman brings to the team. You could also point out the problem with the underlying assumption—for example, by asking, “Do the men on the team only work with clients who are men?” Later, you could ask your manager to publicly reinforce her qualifications.

Why it happens

The question may be rooted in a biased belief that the woman of color is somehow less talented or capable than other account managers.346 It also suggests that your coworker views clients of color as less important to the business. Taken together, these beliefs imply that a woman of color cannot be on the A team.

Icebreaker 1/1 : Did you know?

What percentage of C-suite executives in the United States are women of color?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

Answer: 4%—despite being 18% of the U.S. population

Situation 1/17 : Meeting dynamics

Your manager schedules a virtual team meeting at an hour when your coworker has blocked off time on her calendar to care for her young children.

Why it matters

This can seriously interfere with your coworker’s ability to balance work and life. Many people plan ahead with partners or caregivers, and last-minute changes can be disruptive or impossible. It can also contribute to a feeling of being “always on”—which more than 30 percent of employees name as one of the biggest downsides to remote work in 2020.161 And if situations like this happen often, they can lead to stress or burnout.162

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Remind your manager of your coworker’s schedule constraint and suggest an alternate time. You could also mention how blocking time like this is vital for maintaining work-life balance and explain that practices like these can help employees be more productive and feel more committed to the company.163

Why it happens

This reflects the norm that the “ideal worker” is always available and doesn’t need to take time away from work to care for family, pursue personal interests, or simply recharge.164 Decades of research on the ideal worker show that this norm can harm mothers more than fathers, since mothers often do more caregiving.165

Situation 2/17 : Meeting dynamics

Your manager complains to you after a woman on your team was interrupted by her children during a client call, saying, “That was really unprofessional.”

Why it matters

Being labeled unprofessional can hurt the woman’s reputation and chances of advancement. And it’s likely unwarranted in situations like this one, when the interruption is irrelevant to her performance and outside of her control. Situations like this are far more likely to happen to mothers: when mothers and fathers work from home, women are interrupted over 50 percent more often by their children.278

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Remind your manager that your colleague is talented, accomplished, and doing her job well. You could also explain that children are far more likely to interrupt mothers than fathers. Knowing this can help your manager effectively support the mothers on their team.

Why it happens

Your manager’s judgment is likely based on norms of what it means to be an “ideal worker.” In the United States, the ideal worker is expected to keep work and family separate and prevent their family from interfering with work.279 The comment may also be fueled by maternal bias, the false belief that mothers are less committed and competent than fathers and non-mothers.280 Virtual work can make a woman more likely to be affected by maternal bias because her children may be more visible to her employer.

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 3/17 : Everyday interactions

You impulsively reach out and touch a coworker’s tattoo.

Why it matters

For some people, being touched isn’t a big deal. For others, it understandably is. Depending on the situation, it can feel anywhere from uncomfortable to violating. In some cases, it can even constitute harassment.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Say, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have touched you without asking” and commit to being more thoughtful moving forward. Never enter someone’s personal space without knowing they’re OK with it. Even if they say they are, be aware that they may feel pressure to agree, especially if you’re in a position of power. Ideally, your company also has guidelines for respectful behavior that you can use to inform your thinking.371 And when in doubt, keep your hands to yourself.

Why it happens

Sometimes, we touch people in celebration or friendship, like a high five or a quick hug. This can be perfectly fine, and even welcomed. But some touches suggest we see another person as a novelty—like when we touch a Black woman’s hair, a pregnant woman’s belly, or a disabled person’s wheelchair—and this is demeaning and disrespectful. Some touches are also sexual in nature, and that is never OK at work.

Situation 4/17 : Reviews and promotions

A colleague recommends a man for promotion over a woman, saying, “I’m not sure about her long-term commitment. She just got engaged, and I think she wants to have kids soon.”

Why it matters

When coworkers make assumptions about a woman’s commitment to work based on what’s happening in her personal life, it unfairly limits her opportunities—and could cause your company to miss out on a highly committed candidate. It’s also illegal in many states to consider a person’s marital or parental status as a factor in promotions.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Suggest to your colleague that women should decide for themselves whether or not they want to take on new challenges at work. If you’re feeling bold, you can also point out the double standard: “It’s hard to imagine that we’d say that about a man who recently got engaged.”

Why it happens

When women get engaged or married, studies show that they start to experience maternal bias.125 People—consciously or unconsciously—start to question their competence and commitment, based on the mistaken belief that women can’t be fully present at work if they have family responsibilities at home.126

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 5/17 : Reviews and promotions

In a meeting about promotions, someone questions whether a Latina candidate has the skills for a manager role.

Why it matters

If your Latina colleague is in fact qualified for the promotion, this comment is a problem. It could lead to her being ruled out unfairly, which would be a loss for her and the company. Moments like this contribute to a bigger problem: For every 100 men promoted into manager roles, only 71 Latinas are.94 This “broken rung” on the ladder to leadership means there are too few Latina managers to promote into senior roles.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Ask your colleague for concrete examples of why they think she lacks the required skills. If he doesn’t offer much evidence, say so: “I don’t see a problem with her skills.” You can also check her skill set against the list of criteria for the role. If she meets all or most of the criteria, that can help settle the matter. Establishing clear criteria for performance reviews and promotions can help minimize biased decision making.

Why it happens

Latinas face several layers of bias regarding their skills. As women, they are often stereotyped as less competent than men. As Latinx Americans, they tend to be stereotyped as less intelligent than white people.95 And as Latinas, they tend to be stereotyped as very family-oriented and more suited to supporting roles, even if they are qualified for more senior positions.96

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 6/17 : Hiring

Your colleague advocates for a job candidate with no gap in her résumé over another with a gap from when she was a full-time mom.

Why it matters

Companies that look negatively on job applicants who take time off to raise kids risk missing out on qualified candidates—in particular, women. Mothers are more likely than fathers to take time off for childcare, and they face harsher career penalties when they do.235

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Push for the candidates to be evaluated on their skills and experience, without taking into account the time taken off for caregiving.

Longer term, recommend that your team use standardized hiring criteria and apply them consistently to all candidates. That can help ensure you judge everyone by the same yardstick.236

Why it happens

When a woman becomes a mother, it can make others think that she’s less committed to her career—even less competent.237 As a result, she is often held to higher standards and offered fewer opportunities.238 Seeing a gap in a woman’s résumé can trigger this maternal bias and hurt her chances of being hired.239

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 7/17 : Reviews and promotions

You’re on a team doing performance reviews and notice that a lot of women get feedback on their speaking style.

Why it matters

Criticisms like this can prevent qualified women from advancing, which hurts both them and your company.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

When you notice this pattern, point it out. Explain this is a common bias against women and WHY IT HAPPENS. Suggest that the group focus on the substance of what people say, not their speaking style.

Longer term, recommend that your company use standardized criteria for performance reviews, which will reduce subjective opinions. Consider recommending anti-bias training for employees involved in the review process. When people understand how bias impacts their decision-making, they are able to make more objective decisions.

Why it happens

Studies show that women often get negative feedback on their speaking style, while men do not.52 If women are confident and assertive, they can be criticized for speaking too loudly or often. But if they are quieter, they are more likely to be told that they need to speak more confidently and assertively.53 For some groups of women, no matter how they speak, people project stereotypes onto them: Asian women are more likely to be criticized for being too quiet, while Black women and Latinas are more often labeled angry or loud.54

Rooted in: Likeability bias

Situation 8/17 : Everyday interactions

During lunch a client asks your colleague, “What does your husband do?” Your colleague is a lesbian and has a wife.

Why it matters

The question assumes your colleague is straight and married, which puts lesbians, bisexual women, and single women in an awkward situation. Your lesbian colleague now has to correct a client and come out to them at the same time. The question could also make your lesbian colleague feel at least somewhat uncomfortable or marginalized.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

If your colleague answers that she has a wife, not a husband, you can support her by responding warmly and asking questions, as you would when someone straight talks about their family. This signals your support, and it’s also helpful because people often experience distressing, awkward silences when they refer to their same-sex partners at work. However she responds, do your best to be a good listener, ask questions, and fill the silence.

Why it happens

Often straight people, even those who mean well, can assume that others around them are also straight. But the comment could have a darker motive and reflect prejudice against gay people. Either way, questions like this are far too common. More than 60% of LGBTQ+ people say they’ve had to correct colleagues’ assumptions about their personal lives, and nearly half say that in the past month, they’ve had to come out at work at least once a week.85

Situation 9/17 : Everyday interactions

You are in a staffing meeting, and a coworker recommends you put one woman on each team for better diversity.

Why it matters

One in five women report they are often the only woman or one of the only women in the room at work.189 These “Onlys” have a worse experience than other women. They are more likely to have their abilities challenged and be subjected to unprofessional remarks.190 They may also experience extra pressure and scrutiny, and they can feel that their actions reflect on others like them.191 This takes a toll: women who are Onlys are 1.5 times more likely to think about leaving their jobs than women who aren’t.192

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Applaud the spirit of the idea, but explain the downside of inadvertently isolating women on separate teams. Instead of adding one woman to many teams, recommend putting groups of a few women on teams together. If you’re in a position to do so, suggest that your company create opportunities for women Onlys to connect with other women, such as networking groups. Also, surface that this is a symptom of a larger problem: your company likely needs to hire more women.

Why it happens

When women are underrepresented in organizations—as they often are—they tend to be spread thinly across teams, which means they stand out. Women of color are even more likely to be “Onlys,” since there are fewer of them in corporate America.193 This underrepresentation can make the biases women face especially pronounced. With everyone’s eyes on them, they can often be heavily scrutinized and held to higher standards. As a result, they feel pressure to perform, on guard, and left out—and may be less likely to speak up and contribute fully.194

Situation 10/17 : Everyday interactions

A colleague comments that a mom on your team is working late at the office when she should be home with her family.

Why it matters

All parents, regardless of their gender, should be able to manage their work and family responsibilities without judgment.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

You might push back on your colleague’s comment by saying something like, “I think it shows commitment to her job, just like when a father stays late.”

Why it happens

When women become mothers, we often assume they can’t be highly committed to both work and family.284 And when mothers do show that they’re highly committed at work, they’re often judged negatively for it, because of the strong cultural belief that moms should be home with their kids.285

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 11/17 : Reviews and promotions

When discussing a potential promotion for a woman who uses a wheelchair, someone says, “I’m not sure she can handle a more senior role,” without offering further explanation.

Why it matters

The comment is vague and lacks evidence, which means it’s more likely to be rooted in bias. If it sways the team, it could mean this woman misses out on a promotion she is well qualified for. That hurts everyone, since teams with more diversity—including employees with disabilities—tend to be more innovative and productive.204

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Ask the person to explain what they mean: “What parts of her qualifications don’t meet the criteria?”205 Basing evaluations on concrete criteria instead of gut feelings is fairer and can reduce the effects of bias. If you believe she merits a promotion, advocate for her. To help avoid bias in the future, you can talk to HR about using a set of clear and consistent criteria for promotions.206 You can also ask if your company has targets to recruit and promote more employees with disabilities.207

Why it happens

Research shows that people with disabilities face especially strong negative biases.208 In particular, women with disabilities are often incorrectly perceived as less competent than their coworkers, and their contributions may be valued less.209 They also get less support from managers than almost any other group of employees.210 This means they often face an uphill battle to advancement.

Situation 12/17 : Hiring

Over lunch, your colleague says, “It’d be great to hire more women, but I worry about lowering our bar.”

Why it matters

Comments like this promote the false idea that women are less competent and qualified than men. This comment is particularly concerning if it’s made by someone involved in hiring. If hiring teams unfairly overlook women, women miss out—and so does your company.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Try asking, “Why do you think hiring women would lower the bar?” Restating their words may prompt your colleague to rethink their assumption. You can also explain WHY IT MATTERS.

Longer term, push your company to use standardized hiring criteria.228 That way, the bar will be set before the hiring process begins, so all candidates will be evaluated against it and the notion that “we lowered the bar” is likely to fade.

Why it happens

Comments like this wrongly assume that the bar is set the same for everyone, so if women aren’t hired, it’s because there aren’t enough qualified women out there. In reality, the bar is set differently for women and men. We consciously or unconsciously expect women to meet a higher standard.229 The false belief that everyone is evaluated fairly and objectively is known as the “myth of meritocracy.”230

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 13/17 : Hiring

In a meeting about hiring for a senior role that requires travel, someone questions whether a Latina would want to be away from her family that much.

Why it matters

The question is based on biased assumptions about this employee’s family commitments and ambition. It could mean she loses a major opportunity that she’s qualified for and that your company misses out on her talents.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Ask your co-worker, “What makes you think that?” This may make them realize their comment isn’t based on hard evidence. Explain WHY IT HAPPENS: Latinas are often stereotyped as having lots of kids or not being career-oriented. You can also recommend asking all of the candidates how they feel about the travel requirements. Let them speak for themselves.

Why it happens

This comment may be influenced by several stereotypes about Latinas: that they aren’t ambitious in their careers, they usually have a lot of children, they prioritize family more than other groups do, and they’re more naturally suited to junior roles. All of these preconceptions can keep Latinas out of the senior roles they’re qualified for.

Situation 14/17 : Hiring

During a hiring meeting, a coworker ranks a qualified applicant poorly because she graduated from an overseas school they don’t know.

Why it matters

This judgment could mean this woman misses out on a job that she’s qualified for. And your company could miss out on a strong candidate—one who would add a more global perspective.225

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Point out that the requirements for the role don’t include attending specific colleges or hailing from specific countries. Remind them that educational background is only one dimension of a candidate's experience, and it’s typically not the most important one. And highlight the candidate’s skills that do match up with the job description.

Why it happens

This type of pushback is common for immigrant women. On top of the gender bias women generally experience, immigrant women often face bias if their credentials come from overseas. In the U.S. and Britain, people tend to be biased against colleges in less wealthy countries and to believe that degrees from those countries are worth less.226 As a result of this and other biases, immigrant women are hired at lower rates than women overall and earn less than any other group of women or men.227

Situation 15/17 : Everyday Interactions

A coworker asks a Black woman on your team if they can touch her hair.

Why it matters

Asking to touch a Black woman’s hair is “othering”—that is, it treats her as different or as an outsider.289 It can make the woman feel objectified and disempowered, as well as on guard and self-conscious.290 And depending on the context, this request for unwanted physical interaction could also feel like sexual harassment.

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

You can jump in and say something like, “Hey, asking to touch a Black woman’s hair is not OK!” or “Why do you need to touch it? It looks great from here!” To make sure it doesn’t keep happening, consider mentioning it to your manager as an example of why the company needs regular anti-racism training and a robust allyship program.

Why it happens

The request may be motivated by “hair bias”—the idea that there’s something exotic, wrong, or unprofessional about a Black woman’s natural hair.291 This bias began in the slavery era and has been reinforced by the beauty industry.292 It is also all too common: in fact, some U.S. companies still prohibit natural Black hairstyles.293 Plus, asking to touch a Black woman’s hair reveals a troubling power dynamic in which white people can cross the personal boundaries of Black people without facing any penalty.294

Situation 16/17 : Everyday interactions

You’re talking to a woman of color on your team. A coworker from another team joins you and assumes she is much more junior than she really is.

Why it matters

This happens to women more than men—and to women of color most of all.303 Being mistaken for a more junior employee can feel disrespectful, even humiliating. Over time, the bad feelings from slights like this can add up and leave employees feeling unhappy and more likely to leave their job.304

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

Correct the record by stating the woman’s actual title. If it feels right, add some context that highlights her contributions to your company—for example, “She’s running point on our largest initiative this quarter” or “She’s our COO’s right-hand person.”

Longer term, consider recommending that the company implement bias training, which can help people avoid assumptions like this one.305

Why it happens

Research shows that we strongly associate men with leadership—but not always women.306 Women are twice as likely as men to be mistaken for someone much more junior—and women of color are often the most likely to experience this.307

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 17/17 : Everyday interactions

A coworker says of a Black woman on another team, "Why does she always seem so angry?"

Why it matters

Labeling a Black woman angry can hurt her at work. In one study, when Black women were viewed as angry, they received lower ratings and raises than white women viewed the same way.316 Comments like these can invalidate her point of view, which means the company loses out on her contributions.317 And this stereotype can take a mental toll as Black women have to constantly monitor how they talk or act.318

For senior leaders

Use this set to help senior leaders understand how they can fight bias by shifting company policies, programs, and culture.

What to do

You can ask, “What makes you say that?” This can prompt your colleague to reflect on whether they are motivated by bias without putting them on the defensive. You could point out that the woman didn’t seem particularly angry to you. And if you think your colleague is open to it, you can share WHY IT HAPPENS.

Why it happens

The myth of the “angry Black woman” is a racist trope popularized in the media since the Jim Crow era. It began as a way of criticizing and dismissing women who didn't conform to slavery-era ideals of Black women as submissive.319 The myth is just that: a myth. Research has shown that Black women are no more likely to experience or express anger than Americans as a whole.

Situation -3/33 : Meeting dynamics

Your manager schedules a virtual team meeting at an hour when your coworker has blocked off time on her calendar to care for her young children.

Why it matters

This can seriously interfere with your coworker’s ability to balance work and life. Many people plan ahead with partners or caregivers, and last-minute changes can be disruptive or impossible. It can also contribute to a feeling of being “always on”—which more than 30 percent of employees name as one of the biggest downsides to remote work in 2020.161 And if situations like this happen often, they can lead to stress or burnout.162

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Remind your manager of your coworker’s schedule constraint and suggest an alternate time. You could also mention how blocking time like this is vital for maintaining work-life balance and explain that practices like these can help employees be more productive and feel more committed to the company.163

Why it happens

This reflects the norm that the “ideal worker” is always available and doesn’t need to take time away from work to care for family, pursue personal interests, or simply recharge.164 Decades of research on the ideal worker show that this norm can harm mothers more than fathers, since mothers often do more caregiving.165

Situation -2/33 : Hiring

In a meeting about hiring for a senior role that requires travel, someone questions whether a Latina would want to be away from her family that much.

Why it matters

The question is based on biased assumptions about this employee’s family commitments and ambition. It could mean she loses a major opportunity that she’s qualified for and that your company misses out on her talents.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Ask your co-worker, “What makes you think that?” This may make them realize their comment isn’t based on hard evidence. Explain WHY IT HAPPENS: Latinas are often stereotyped as having lots of kids or not being career-oriented. You can also recommend asking all of the candidates how they feel about the travel requirements. Let them speak for themselves.

Why it happens

This comment may be influenced by several stereotypes about Latinas: that they aren’t ambitious in their careers, they usually have a lot of children, they prioritize family more than other groups do, and they’re more naturally suited to junior roles. All of these preconceptions can keep Latinas out of the senior roles they’re qualified for.

Icebreaker 3/4 : Did you know?

In one study, how much more likely was a woman to get an interview if her resume pictured her without a hijab, compared to picturing her with a hijab?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

Three times more likely.233

Situation 0/33 : Meeting dynamics

Your manager calls out a team member during a virtual meeting for not turning on her video when she seems reluctant to do so.

Why it matters

Being put on the spot like this can trigger anxiety and stress. If the employee has her children with her, she may fear being judged as unprofessional—a bias that can affect all parents but impacts women more than men, as women are more likely to be interrupted by their children.372 Women are also penalized more than men for not looking well-groomed or put together.373 This creates a particular burden for Black women, who have to spend a lot more time than other women on their hair to avoid negative judgments. This is because of biased beliefs that their natural hair is “unprofessional.”374

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

In the moment, you can speak up and point out that she’s present and participating, even if the team can’t see her. If you, too, like to leave your video off from time to time, perhaps point this out. That sends the message that she isn’t an outlier. Later, you could talk to your manager about it and explain WHY IT HAPPENS.

Why it happens

Managers may insist on video because they want their team members to feel connected, especially if they cannot be together in person. Or they may ask employees to turn on video to ensure that everyone is productive and engaged. But this doesn’t take into account everything an employee may be balancing while working from home, including childcare and housework. And it doesn’t make allowances for the anxiety employees may feel about how they look or their home looks on a busy or chaotic day.

Icebreaker 5/4 : Did you know?

As of September 2020, how many Black women have led Fortune 500 companies?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

Only two—Ursula Burns at Xerox and Mary Winston at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Situation 2/33 : Meeting dynamics

In a meeting, a woman strongly disagrees with a man about how to approach a problem. He says, “We can’t talk about this anymore. She’s getting too emotional.”

Why it matters

In a healthy workplace, debates happen all the time—and often result in better ideas, clearer strategies, and stronger teams. Shutting down debate can be counterproductive to your company’s goals. Plus, being tagged as overly emotional can diminish a woman’s standing at work—and send a message to other women that they shouldn’t speak freely.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Speak up. You can say something to support the woman’s point of view: “I think [Name] is making a good point. We should consider it.” You can also push back on the “too emotional” comment directly: “She doesn’t seem too emotional to me. Let’s keep talking.”

Or you can help your team get back to basics: “We’re all just trying to come up with the best approach. Let’s continue this conversation so we can land on the right solution together.”

Why it happens

Women tend to be stereotyped as overly emotional, while men tend to be viewed as rational—and therefore more professional and better suited to lead.91 This dynamic can cause people to see a woman with an opinion—especially if she expresses it with conviction—as being overly emotional, while the same view voiced by a man is considered reasonable.92 Women of color can face different and more acute variations of this bias, with Black women often labeled as “angry” and Latinas as “fiery.”93

Situation 3/33 : Hiring

Your colleague advocates for a job candidate with no gap in her résumé over another with a gap from when she was a full-time mom.

Why it matters

Companies that look negatively on job applicants who take time off to raise kids risk missing out on qualified candidates—in particular, women. Mothers are more likely than fathers to take time off for childcare, and they face harsher career penalties when they do.235

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Push for the candidates to be evaluated on their skills and experience, without taking into account the time taken off for caregiving.

Longer term, recommend that your team use standardized hiring criteria and apply them consistently to all candidates. That can help ensure you judge everyone by the same yardstick.236

Why it happens

When a woman becomes a mother, it can make others think that she’s less committed to her career—even less competent.237 As a result, she is often held to higher standards and offered fewer opportunities.238 Seeing a gap in a woman’s résumé can trigger this maternal bias and hurt her chances of being hired.239

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 4/33 : Everyday interactions

Your team is led by a woman, but a colleague from another department assumes that a man on your team is the leader.

Why it matters

When this happens, it reinforces the idea that women aren’t leaders. It can also undermine your team leader and her standing in the group.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Jump into the conversation to correct the record: “[Name] is our team lead.” You can also say something that underscores her leadership abilities or accomplishments—for example, “She heads all our biggest sales efforts.”

Why it happens

People tend to assume men are more senior than the women around them. This is in part because we consciously or unconsciously associate men with leadership more strongly than we do women. It’s also because in many companies, men outnumber women in leadership positions, so this view becomes the norm.

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Situation 5/33 : Everyday interactions

A colleague complains about a Native American coworker taking two days off because she has a religious responsibility within her tribal nation.

Why it matters

This complaint may imply that your Native American coworker isn’t committed to her job. It could also prompt others to view her as different or an outsider. And if comments like this are common, they could damage her reputation and hurt her chances for future opportunities. Plus, if she hears about the comment, it could make her feel undermined or stressed because of a sense of conflict between work and her tribal nation.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Stand up for your Native American coworker. Tell your colleague that missing a few days of work for religious reasons sounds reasonable to you. Remind them that it’s a common practice for other religious groups like Jews and Christians. Reinforce how much she contributes to her job. You can also talk to your manager or HR about ensuring that learning about Native American culture is part of the company’s diversity and inclusion training.333

Why it happens

In general, employees can be judged negatively when they take time for personal reasons.334 This can impact people more when they are from non-majority groups. In this case, Native American customs and holidays—such as coming-of-age ceremonies and feast days—aren’t widely known and understood. When Native Americans miss work for these events, they can face more judgment than other ethnic or religious groups do when they take off for celebrations or holidays.335

Situation 6/33 : Reviews and promotions

A colleague recommends a man for promotion over a woman, saying, “I’m not sure about her long-term commitment. She just got engaged, and I think she wants to have kids soon.”

Why it matters

When coworkers make assumptions about a woman’s commitment to work based on what’s happening in her personal life, it unfairly limits her opportunities—and could cause your company to miss out on a highly committed candidate. It’s also illegal in many states to consider a person’s marital or parental status as a factor in promotions.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Suggest to your colleague that women should decide for themselves whether or not they want to take on new challenges at work. If you’re feeling bold, you can also point out the double standard: “It’s hard to imagine that we’d say that about a man who recently got engaged.”

Why it happens

When women get engaged or married, studies show that they start to experience maternal bias.125 People—consciously or unconsciously—start to question their competence and commitment, based on the mistaken belief that women can’t be fully present at work if they have family responsibilities at home.126

Rooted in: Maternal bias

Situation 7/33 : Meeting dynamics

A meeting is starting soon and you notice that it’s mostly men seated front and center and women seated to the side.

Why it matters

If women are sidelined in meetings, it’s less likely that they’ll speak up, which means the group won’t benefit from everyone’s best thinking. Plus, it’s not beneficial to sit in the low-status seats in the room—and women have to fight for status as it is.159

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

If there are empty chairs at the table, urge women sitting to the side to fill them. If there’s no room, acknowledge the problem—for example, ask if anyone else sees that it’s mostly men at the table. If it happens often, consider saying to the person who runs the meeting, “I’ve noticed that it’s mostly men at the table and women on the sidelines. Maybe you can encourage a better mix.”

Why it happens

Women typically get less time to speak in meetings. They’re more likely than men to be spoken over and interrupted.160 As a result of signals like these, women sometimes feel less valued, so they sit off to the side.

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 8/33 : Everyday interactions

A newly hired trans woman asks where the restroom is and a colleague says, “They’re over there—I’m not sure which one you want to use.”

Why it matters

The second part of the comment is disrespectful. It implies that a trans woman’s restroom choice is OK to comment on publicly and that her gender is somehow in question. Unfortunately, trans women often face complaints or comments about their choice of bathroom, which can make them feel uncomfortable and judged.97

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Some microaggressions are best addressed in the moment. In this case, it may be more respectful to say something supportive to your new colleague in private, such as, “Please feel free to use any restroom you want, and if you ever feel uncomfortable, I’m here to help.” Later, explain to your colleague who made the comment that it’s best not to speculate on which restroom someone uses, because you may be wrong. Experts say that the best approach is to tell everyone where every restroom is—women’s, men’s, and all-gender.

Why it happens

Your colleague may have made this comment to intentionally cause discomfort because they are prejudiced against trans women.98 But more likely, they were expressing an unconscious bias that trans women are different and that this is somehow OK to comment on.99 In addition, they may have been genuinely confused because they are not informed about these issues.

Situation 9/33 : Everyday interactions

A colleague says they’re glad to see so many women in leadership at your company. In reality, only 2 out of 15 senior leaders are women.

Why it matters

If people think that women are well represented in leadership when in reality they’re not, they’re less likely to do anything to fix the problem—they simply don’t see it. That’s a loss for your company: when companies have more women in leadership, they tend to have more employee-friendly policies and produce better business results.214

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Point out the numbers, which speak for themselves. You can say, “It’s great that we have those two women on the leadership team, but they’re only two out of fifteen. Women are half the population, so women are still really underrepresented.” You can also share that having more women in leadership can be good for a company’s bottom line.215

Why it happens

When it comes to women in leadership, people tend to be too satisfied with the status quo: 44% of men and 22% of women think women are well represented when only 1 in 10 senior leaders at their company is a woman.216 These low expectations are the result of generations of inequality. When there used to be no women senior leaders, seeing just one or two can feel like a huge step forward. It’s hard to imagine a groundswell for change when we don’t have higher expectations for what equality looks like.

Situation 10/33 : Everyday interactions

You see a colleague introduce a senior woman as “the nicest person in the office” without mentioning her job title or accomplishments.

Why it matters

When women are described only as “nice,” it can downplay their capabilities and reinforce the stereotype that women are nurturers—as opposed to leaders.379 This can be particularly undermining to senior-level women.

LeanIn.Org thanks the Stanford Women’s Leadership Lab for their valuable contribution to this card

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Try to round out the compliment with a reference to the woman’s overall performance. If she recently led a project or is known to be a strong manager, say so. If you believe the woman’s personality is an asset to the company, you can make that point, too. For example, you might say, “Because of her way with clients, we’ve really expanded our customer base.” Just make sure to link it to a positive business outcome.

Why it happens

Because of traditional stereotypes that women are nurturing and communal, colleagues often pay more attention to their personality traits. This means that women’s hard skills, accomplishments, and leadership capabilities often go overlooked, which can slow their advancement.380

Situation 11/33 : Meeting dynamics

You’re in a meeting and a woman colleague is spoken over or interrupted.

Why it matters

If women’s ideas aren’t heard, it can make it harder for them to be perceived as key contributors, which can harm their career progression. When teams miss out on women’s insights, it can also mean your company is missing out. Teams that foster diverse points of view often have better ideas and get more done.57

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

When a woman gets interrupted, speak up. You might say, “I’d like to hear the rest of [Name’s] thoughts” or “[Name] raised an important point. I’d like to consider it further before we move on.”

If you’re leading a meeting, reduce interruptions by following an agenda and asking people to contribute in a structured way. You might say, “Let’s go around the room and get everyone’s ideas.” You can also invite individual women in the room to contribute their opinions.

Why it happens

People tend to value women’s contributions less than men’s.58 One way this plays out is in meetings, where women—and in particular, women of color—are interrupted more and get less time to speak than men do.59

Rooted in: Attribution bias

Situation 12/33 : Hiring

You’re on a hiring committee and you notice that your colleagues prefer candidates who are men over women with very similar experience.

Why it matters

This could be a sign of bias in your hiring process—and may unfairly disadvantage women. When qualified women are overlooked, your company misses out on their talents and on the chance to build more diverse teams.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Mention to the hiring committee that you’ve noticed they tend to select men over women with similar abilities. You can also explain WHY IT HAPPENS. Then suggest a solution. Research shows that when teams agree on a set of clear criteria and use it consistently for all candidates, the hiring process is fairer and the most qualified women and men can rise to the top.115

Why it happens

We tend to rate women lower than men, even if they have similar qualifications.116 This can make a real difference in hiring. In one study, replacing a woman’s name with a man’s name on a résumé increased the likelihood of being hired by more than 60%.117 The impact can be even worse for some groups—including Black women, Latinas, Native American women, and women with disabilities—whose competence is questioned both because they're women and because of stereotypes about their race or ability.118

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 13/33 : Mentorship and sponsorship

You decide to mentor someone because they remind you of yourself.

Why it matters

Good mentors can make a big difference. Employees with mentors are more likely to get raises and promotions.147 But because managers and senior leaders are more likely to be straight white men, and because people tend to gravitate toward mentoring others like themselves, women, people of color, and LGBTQ people often miss out on that support.148 That also means your company could miss out on fostering talented employees.

LeanIn.Org thanks Paradigm for their valuable contribution to this card

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Be aware of this dynamic and let it inform your choices. If you’re a white man, you’re more likely to be in a position of authority someday.149 You can make the workplace fairer by being thoughtful about whom you mentor. Consider proactively reaching out to mentor someone from a different background. If you’re a woman, a person of color, or an LGBTQ person, you might decide instead to mentor someone like yourself—especially if you remember struggling to find mentors when you were coming up through the ranks. In your case, mentoring people like yourself supports diversity and inclusion.

Why it happens

Because of this bias, we tend to prefer the company of others who are like us.150 This can lead us to invest more in people who remind us of ourselves, perhaps because we assume these relationships will feel more comfortable.151

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Situation 14/33 : Meeting dynamics

During a presentation, a Black woman is repeatedly interrupted by someone who has less expertise on the subject she’s talking about.

Why it matters

In addition to being disruptive to the woman presenting and making it harder for everyone to follow her main points, behavior like this is disrespectful. If it goes unchallenged, it can signal that it’s OK to treat women of color this way.320

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

If you can, speak up in the moment. You could say, “I would really like to hear [Name]’s thinking—she’s an expert in this area. Let’s hold the questions until she gets to the end of her presentation.” You can also ask an on-topic question that allows her to demonstrate her expertise.

Why it happens

Compared to people of other races and ethnicities, Black women are the most likely to have their judgment questioned in their area of expertise and to be asked to prove their competence.321 Women of all races also tend to be interrupted far more often than men, and women of color even more so.322 These dynamics are fueled by performance bias—the belief that women and people of color are less competent than white men.323 Black women are particularly impacted by this bias because they are both women and Black.324

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 15/33 : Reviews and promotions

When discussing a potential promotion for a woman who uses a wheelchair, someone says, “I’m not sure she can handle a more senior role,” without offering further explanation.

Why it matters

The comment is vague and lacks evidence, which means it’s more likely to be rooted in bias. If it sways the team, it could mean this woman misses out on a promotion she is well qualified for. That hurts everyone, since teams with more diversity—including employees with disabilities—tend to be more innovative and productive.204

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Ask the person to explain what they mean: “What parts of her qualifications don’t meet the criteria?”205 Basing evaluations on concrete criteria instead of gut feelings is fairer and can reduce the effects of bias. If you believe she merits a promotion, advocate for her. To help avoid bias in the future, you can talk to HR about using a set of clear and consistent criteria for promotions.206 You can also ask if your company has targets to recruit and promote more employees with disabilities.207

Why it happens

Research shows that people with disabilities face especially strong negative biases.208 In particular, women with disabilities are often incorrectly perceived as less competent than their coworkers, and their contributions may be valued less.209 They also get less support from managers than almost any other group of employees.210 This means they often face an uphill battle to advancement.

Situation 16/33 : Reviews and promotions

In a meeting reviewing annual performance, a coworker asks how a woman could have possibly brought in so much new business—but doesn’t show the same skepticism about the men.

Why it matters

Underestimating or over-scrutinizing women can diminish their standing at work and lead to them being overlooked for promotions and choice assignments. If it happens often, it may point to bias problems at your company.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Ask your colleague if they have a reason to question this woman’s performance: “She’s clearly getting great results. Why are you doubting her?” If their answer suggests that they are discounting the woman’s performance unfairly, you can explain that women’s accomplishments tend to be questioned more often than men’s.267

Why it happens

People often question the basis for women’s achievements. They assume that women did well through luck or outside help, rather than with their own skills.179 As a result, women are often asked to prove themselves repeatedly, while men are not.269

Rooted in: Attribution bias

Situation 17/33 : Mentorship and sponsorship

You offer the rising star on your team a stretch assignment, and she says she doesn’t feel qualified to take it on.

Why it matters

When women turn down opportunities they’re qualified for because of self-doubt, they miss out—and your company isn’t able to fully leverage their talents.

LeanIn.Org thanks Paradigm for their valuable contribution to this card

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Let her know that you believe in her. Remind her she is being offered the opportunity because of her strong performance, not as a favor. You can also reassure her that how she’s feeling is perfectly understandable: “It’s normal for anyone to be nervous about taking on a bigger role. And women get sent signals that they’re not good enough. It’s hard not to internalize them.”

Why it happens

Women can be prone to more self-doubt than men, and it’s not because they’re missing a special confidence gene.170 Because we tend to underestimate women’s performance, women often need to work harder to prove they’re capable. And they are more likely to be passed over for promotions and stretch assignments. This bias is so pervasive that women often underestimate their own performance and are more likely than men to attribute their failures to lack of ability.171

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 18/33 : Reviews and promotions

You’re on a review committee and several members argue against a woman’s promotion because she is not “seen as a leader,” even though her team delivers outstanding results.

Why it matters

The review committee may be making incorrect—and unfair—assumptions about the woman’s abilities. Additionally, if the review committee uses a narrow definition of leadership, they may unfairly exclude a lot of people, like this woman.

LeanIn.Org thanks the Stanford Women’s Leadership Lab for their valuable contribution to this card

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Point out that the woman’s team delivers superb results, and suggest that their performance speaks to her leadership. You can also ask them to explain the attributes she lacks. When people are asked to justify their thinking, it can help reduce bias in decision-making.100

As a longer-term solution, suggest creating detailed metrics for performance reviews, including clear expectations for leaders. This way, all employees will be evaluated based on a more complete definition of good leadership and using the same standards, which reduces bias in the review process.101

Why it happens

Both women and men more readily associate men with leadership.102 This bias is so strong that when women work on teams, their contributions are often attributed to the team as a whole. In contrast, when men work on teams, they are more likely to be seen as taking a leadership role.103 The bias affects different groups of women in different ways: Asian women often aren't seen as assertive enough to be leaders, while Black women and Latinas can be stereotyped as not talented enough for leadership roles, and Native American women contend with both these stereotypes.104

Situation 19/33 : Hiring

You realize that many of the candidates your colleague has hired went to her elite university.

Why it matters

If hiring managers only hire people they have something in common with, they’re likely missing out on great candidates who are different from themselves. And recruiting only from elite colleges means that they'll miss qualified candidates who tend to be underrepresented at elite schools, like Black and Latinx people.258 This approach to hiring can hurt your company—many studies find that diverse teams perform better.259

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Point out that many of your colleague’s hires are from her university. Suggest that it could help her team to include qualified candidates from a broader range of schools and backgrounds. Recommend a job board or colleague in HR who can help her recruit more diverse teammates. If she needs convincing, explain WHY IT MATTERS.

Why it happens

Research shows that people tend to unconsciously gravitate toward others like them—we are drawn to people with backgrounds and experiences similar to ours.260 This makes us more likely to want to work with and hire people with whom we already share common ground, including people of our gender or race—or people who went to our alma mater.261

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Situation 20/33 : Hiring

A colleague mentions how aggressive and pushy a job candidate seemed when negotiating her salary.

Why it matters

Negotiation is a vital part of job seeking for any employee. But women who negotiate are often perceived as less likeable.240 Since people tend to want to hire coworkers who are seen as likeable as well as competent, this could mean talented women are overlooked.241

LeanIn.Org thanks Paradigm for their valuable contribution to this card

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Prompt your colleague to rethink their impression of this woman. You might ask, “Have we had a problem with job candidates negotiating in the past?”

Longer term, recommend that your company make it clear what can be negotiated and how. For example, HR could publish a list of areas open to negotiation—such as promotions, flexible scheduling, or working from home—along with the criteria for how decisions will be made.

Why it happens

Women are expected to be communal and selfless.242 When they seek higher pay, they act against that stereotype, and people can respond negatively.243 Women who negotiate are more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are “intimidating,” “too aggressive,” or “bossy.”244

Rooted in: Likeability bias

Situation 21/33 : Hiring

You’re asked to interview candidates for a role on your team and notice none are women.

Why it matters

Your company is likely missing out on talented candidates—and women are missing out on a chance to advance their careers. This is a widespread problem: fewer women than men are hired at the entry level, and at every subsequent step, the representation of women further declines.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Talk to the hiring manager. Point out that there aren’t any women being interviewed. Suggest an additional push to identify two or more viable women candidates.

Longer term, recommend that your company start using diverse slates—that is, include at least two women and underrepresented minorities in each candidate pool. This has been shown to reduce bias in hiring.

Why it happens

This may be happening because fewer women work in your field. But it may also reflect bias in your company’s hiring process, an area where all types of bias can come into play, from favoring people like yourself (affinity bias) to holding women to higher standards (performance bias).

Situation 22/33 : Hiring

At an all-staff meeting, your company’s leaders share concrete goals for hiring, promoting, and retaining women, but it’s clear they haven’t set goals for women of color specifically.

Why it matters

If companies don’t set goals by gender and race combined, they are not explicitly prioritizing the advancement of women of color. That means women of color, who face a uniquely challenging combination of sexism and racism, are more likely to be overlooked.60 It can also send the message that the company hasn’t made the advancement of women of color a priority.

LeanIn.Org thanks Minda Harts for her valuable contribution to this card

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

If you feel comfortable, you could raise the question directly in the meeting: “Do we set these goals for women of color?” You could also speak to your manager or HR team afterward about the importance of setting goals that combine gender and race.

Why it happens

Many corporate diversity efforts focus on either gender or race, but very few focus on the two together. In fact, only 7 percent of companies set representation targets for gender and race combined. This may happen because company leaders aren’t aware of the importance of an intersectional approach to diversity efforts.

Situation 23/33 : Everyday interactions

In an informal conversation with colleagues, someone interrupts and talks over a woman who speaks English as a second language.

Why it matters

This is disrespectful to your colleague and could negatively affect how others perceive her. It could also undermine her confidence and make her feel devalued. If your colleague is interrupted often, your team will miss out on hearing and benefiting from her ideas.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

If possible, interrupt the interrupter. You might say, “Hold on, I’d love to hear what [Name] was saying.” Or after the interrupter has finished speaking, invite the woman to speak again. Later, in private, you might want to mention to the interrupter that you felt they could have given the woman more space to contribute.

Why it happens

Women tend to be interrupted more often than men due to false beliefs that their contributions are of less value and that they should be more accommodating than men.286 This is compounded for women with nonnative accents because of “accent bias,” the belief that those with “foreign” accents are less intelligent than others.287 This bias can be even more extreme if the speaker makes errors in grammar or word choice.288 All this sets the stage for women who speak English as a second language to be spoken over, interrupted, or simply not listened to.

Icebreaker 28/4 : Did you know?

For every 100 men hired as managers, how many Latinas are hired?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

Situation 25/33 : Hiring

You’re on a hiring committee and a colleague rules out a woman of color because she’s “not a good cultural fit.”

Why it matters

Evaluations of “culture fit” tend to be subjective. They can lead us to screen out people who aren’t like us, which means we can miss qualified candidates and end up with less diverse teams. Plus, it can mean that talented job seekers lose out on opportunities.

LeanIn.Org thanks Paradigm for their valuable contribution to this card

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

When someone rules out a candidate because of fit, ask them to be more specific. If their thinking boils down to “she’s different,” point out that different can be good. Propose that you look for someone who adds to the team dynamic—a “culture add”—instead of someone who simply fits into it.

As a longer-term solution, ask that a set of standardized criteria be used for all hires. This reduces bias by minimizing subjective evaluations.55

Why it happens

We tend to gravitate toward—and hire—people who remind us of ourselves, which can impact our ability to objectively evaluate who would bring the most to the job.56

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Situation 26/33 : Hiring

In a meeting about hiring, colleagues agree the most qualified candidate is a trans woman but worry about how clients will respond.

Why it matters

It’s inappropriate to speculate about how clients would respond to someone’s gender identity, just as it would be about their religious faith or ethnicity.166 The discussion also harms company culture, because it could make it feel acceptable to discriminate against trans people.167

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Remind the group that they all agreed that she was the most qualified candidate and push back against the idea that you should give up on the strongest hire. You can also point to some of her specific qualifications and experience that fit the criteria for the role.

Why it happens

Transgender people often experience workplace mistreatment, including difficulties getting hired and promoted. This mistreatment is often due in part to concerns that clients and other employees have negative attitudes toward transgender people.168 In this case, allowing such concerns to determine who gets hired results in discrimination against trans women.169

Situation 27/33 : Everyday interactions

A Native American colleague says in a team meeting that she didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Another colleague replies, “That’s not very American of you.”

Why it matters

For many people, Thanksgiving represents joy, gratitude, and coming together as family. But for Native Americans, Thanksgiving can be a reminder that many of their ancestors were killed when Europeans arrived in North America.336 In light of this, your colleague’s response could feel hurtful or judgmental. It also puts the burden on your Native American coworker to defend herself.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

You could jump in on your coworker’s behalf. Say, “For some people, holidays like Thanksgiving are reminders of some of the worst parts of our history, rather than the best.” You might also explain WHY IT MATTERS.

Why it happens

The comment may also reflect an assumption that Native Americans should try to fit in with mainstream U.S. culture.337 It also likely reflects a lack of knowledge. Most Americans learn history from the viewpoint of Americans with European ancestry, not from a Native American perspective. For example, many learn in school that Plymouth settlers and Wampanoag Indians held the first Thanksgiving in 1621. But few learn that just 16 years later, Plymouth settlers massacred hundreds of Native Americans.338

Situation 28/33 : Everyday Interactions

A coworker says, “I don’t see color.”

Why it matters

This comment denies a fundamental part of people’s identities. It also suggests that if we choose to ignore racism, it will go away on its own. In fact, many studies show that when people or institutions claim to be “color-blind,” they often perpetuate racism by failing to take action against it.80 To combat racism, you first have to face it head-on, then actively work to challenge racist stereotypes and behavior—both your own and those of others.81

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

You could ask a question to make your coworker reflect: “What’s wrong with acknowledging someone's race? Everyone’s identity is unique and should be appreciated.”82 Explain that while you understand they think they’re being fair and objective, “not seeing color” can make racism worse. Point out that this way of thinking signals that someone’s not interested in challenging racist behavior, whether or not that was the intention.

Why it happens

Your coworker may wish to deny that racism still exists.83 Or they may be falling into the trap of thinking that “not seeing color” is a way of avoiding racism, when in fact it perpetuates racism.84

Situation 29/33 : Everyday interactions

Your coworker complains that an Asian woman on your team didn’t respond quickly to an email sent after working hours.

Why it matters

Unless responding quickly to after-hours emails like this is an important part of your colleague’s job, she’s likely being judged unfairly. The comment implies that she’s expected to work long hours and may be held to different standards than others.339 And if she is expected to be available 24/7, it could cause stress or burnout.340

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

If you feel comfortable, ask a few questions. Did they say that the message was urgent? Was the woman expected to be on call? If the answer is yes, then their complaint may be warranted and you don’t need to push back any further.341 But if there was no expectation that she would respond after working hours, it may be worth pointing that out. You could say something like, “I personally try to avoid answering work calls at night” or “You know, it can be good for everyone’s long-term productivity when we can disconnect outside working hours.”

Why it happens

This comment could be caused by a number of factors, including tight timelines or heightened stress at work. But it may also reflect a common expectation that Asian women should work harder than other employees.342 As a result, Asian women are often expected to conform to “ideal worker” norms, meaning that they are expected to be available 24/7 and take on extra work.343

Situation 30/33 : Everyday interactions

A coworker criticizes her manager, an Asian woman, for being “ruthless” and “abrasive.”

Why it matters

The comment may negatively—and unfairly—influence other people’s perceptions of the woman’s leadership ability and character. The language is subjective and vague, which makes it more likely to be influenced by bias.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Ask your colleague to reexamine the basis for her criticism: “Could you give some examples?” Depending on her response, you can push back and reframe the criticism in a positive light. For example, if she says her manager is ruthless because she talks a lot about metrics, you can point out that that doesn’t seem particularly ruthless, just goal oriented. You could also explain WHY IT HAPPENS.

Why it happens

Because women are expected to be nice and accommodating, they are often penalized when they assert themselves. Compared to other groups of women, Asian women—who are often stereotyped as overly accommodating—can experience an even stronger backlash when they act assertively.344

Rooted in: Likeability bias

Icebreaker 35/4 : Did you know?

What % of U.S. transgender employees have hidden their gender identity at work to avoid discrimination?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

Situation 32/33 : Meeting dynamics

On a business call, your colleague who is working from home seems distracted. Afterward, your manager says, “Gosh, was she washing dishes or something in the background?”

Why it matters

The comment is disrespectful and may undermine the woman’s reputation with colleagues who hear it. It can also reinforce a damaging stereotype that women can't be fully committed to work and also be focused on home and family.391 That stereotype can have real consequences, impacting women’s chances of promotion and other opportunities.392

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

You could try redirecting your manager—for example, by saying, “It didn’t sound like that to me. I could hear her perfectly.” You could treat the moment lightly: “Maybe her husband was!” You could also privately explain to your manager WHY IT MATTERS.

Why it happens

People of all genders have off days or moments when they're distracted. For women, those moments are more likely to get chalked up to splitting attention between work and domestic duties. That’s because women tend to be stereotyped as more committed to—and more distracted by—family and household duties than men are. This bias may be even stronger when they are working at home.393

Situation 33/33 : Mentorship and sponsorship

You realize that a colleague who is a man only mentors other men.

Why it matters

Mentorship can be critical to success.195 We all benefit when a colleague shows us the ropes or sponsors us for new opportunities—particularly when that colleague is more senior.196 If your coworker only mentors men, the women he works with are missing out on his advice and, potentially, on opportunities to advance. He is also missing out on their best thinking.

Women of color

Use this set to educate employees about the biases women of color face at work and the concrete steps colleagues can take to interrupt bias and provide support.

What to do

Talk to your colleague. Explain why mentoring is so valuable and share your observation that he only mentors men. Recommend he mentor at least one woman, and offer to help him identify a few promising candidates. If he confides he’s uncomfortable being alone with women, point out that there are plenty of public places to meet—and remind him that mentorship really matters.

Why it happens

We’re often drawn to people from similar backgrounds. The problem is that this can disadvantage people who aren’t like us—and this is especially true when we’re in positions of power.197 Additionally, some men are anxious about mentoring women for fear of seeming inappropriate. Almost half of men in management are uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman, such as mentoring or working alone together.198

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Icebreaker 1/2 : Did you know?

In a study of performance reviews, men who stayed late to help prepare for a meeting got a 14% increase in their rating. What increase did the women get when they stayed late to help?

Did you know?

Guess the answer as a group.

No increase at all. Research shows that when men help out with office tasks they are rewarded, while women are not. Conversely, women are penalized if they refuse.

Situation 0/14 : Meeting dynamics

Your manager schedules a virtual team meeting at an hour when your coworker has blocked off time on her calendar to care for her young children.

Why it matters

This can seriously interfere with your coworker’s ability to balance work and life. Many people plan ahead with partners or caregivers, and last-minute changes can be disruptive or impossible. It can also contribute to a feeling of being “always on”—which more than 30 percent of employees name as one of the biggest downsides to remote work in 2020.161 And if situations like this happen often, they can lead to stress or burnout.162

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

Remind your manager of your coworker’s schedule constraint and suggest an alternate time. You could also mention how blocking time like this is vital for maintaining work-life balance and explain that practices like these can help employees be more productive and feel more committed to the company.163

Why it happens

This reflects the norm that the “ideal worker” is always available and doesn’t need to take time away from work to care for family, pursue personal interests, or simply recharge.164 Decades of research on the ideal worker show that this norm can harm mothers more than fathers, since mothers often do more caregiving.165

Situation 1/14 : Everyday interactions

A coworker comments that an LGBTQ woman on your team doesn’t “look gay.”

Why it matters

This comment plays into stereotypes about what LGBTQ people do and don’t look like. Demeaning comments like this can make LGBTQ people feel humiliated—and more likely to leave their jobs.

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

You can push back in a few ways. You can speak to the hurtful nature of the remark: “I think it would make [Name] feel really uncomfortable to hear you say that.” You can even say, “That’s pretty stereotypical.” You can also make a general point about how commenting on a coworker’s sexual identity is nearly always inappropriate.

Why it happens

LGBTQ people, like other marginalized groups, deal frequently with age-old stereotypes about how they look, talk, and act. Stereotypes are dehumanizing, because they treat a person like a caricature instead of an individual. The workplace is not immune from these outdated notions: nearly a quarter of lesbian women report hearing demeaning comments at work.

Situation 2/14 : Meeting dynamics

During a presentation, a Black woman is repeatedly interrupted by someone who has less expertise on the subject she’s talking about.

Why it matters

In addition to being disruptive to the woman presenting and making it harder for everyone to follow her main points, behavior like this is disrespectful. If it goes unchallenged, it can signal that it’s OK to treat women of color this way.320

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

If you can, speak up in the moment. You could say, “I would really like to hear [Name]’s thinking—she’s an expert in this area. Let’s hold the questions until she gets to the end of her presentation.” You can also ask an on-topic question that allows her to demonstrate her expertise.

Why it happens

Compared to people of other races and ethnicities, Black women are the most likely to have their judgment questioned in their area of expertise and to be asked to prove their competence.321 Women of all races also tend to be interrupted far more often than men, and women of color even more so.322 These dynamics are fueled by performance bias—the belief that women and people of color are less competent than white men.323 Black women are particularly impacted by this bias because they are both women and Black.324

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 3/14 : Everyday interactions

Your boss questions your colleague’s knowledge of something firmly in her area of expertise.

Why it matters

On its own, this incident may seem inconsequential. But moments like this add up: women are twice as likely as men to have their competence questioned at work.142 Over time, it can make them feel less happy in their jobs and more likely to consider leaving.143

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

Support the woman by highlighting her expertise. You can say something like, “You may not know this, but [Name] is our resident expert on the topic” or “[Name] actually wrote a report about this last year.”

Longer term, consider making a more concerted effort to highlight the expertise of all the women on your team—not only in the moment, but regularly. Seek their insights in meetings and point people with relevant questions in their direction.

Why it happens

People tend to overestimate men’s performance and underestimate women’s.144 As a result, they are more likely to doubt women’s competence and question their judgment.145 Certain groups, including Black women, Latinas, and women with disabilities, tend to have their expertise questioned even more frequently than other women. They are often assumed to be less skilled because of racist or ableist stereotypes.146

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 4/14 : Meeting dynamics

You often see biased behavior on your team, and your manager lets it go unchallenged.

Why it matters

When employees have a manager who regularly challenges bias, they are more likely to think that everyone has an equal chance to advance—and women are almost twice as likely to think they have the same opportunities as their peers.121 Yet less than a third of employees say that managers at their company often challenge biased language and behavior when they hear or see it.122

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

Talk to your manager about what you’re seeing and the important role they play in setting workplace norms. You might say, “The team really respects you. If you step in when you hear these comments, it will push everyone to be more thoughtful.” You can also talk to senior leadership at your company and explain WHY IT MATTERS.

Why it happens

Your manager may not realize that certain comments and actions are biased. Less than half of managers have received anti-bias training.123 When people understand how bias works, they are able to make fairer decisions and more clearly see bias when it crops up. 124 There are other possible reasons, too. Managers may not realize the critical role they can play in creating an inclusive workplace—or may not be bought into your company’s diversity efforts.

Situation 5/14 : Everyday interactions

You impulsively reach out and touch a coworker’s tattoo.

Why it matters

For some people, being touched isn’t a big deal. For others, it understandably is. Depending on the situation, it can feel anywhere from uncomfortable to violating. In some cases, it can even constitute harassment.

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

Say, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have touched you without asking” and commit to being more thoughtful moving forward. Never enter someone’s personal space without knowing they’re OK with it. Even if they say they are, be aware that they may feel pressure to agree, especially if you’re in a position of power. Ideally, your company also has guidelines for respectful behavior that you can use to inform your thinking.371 And when in doubt, keep your hands to yourself.

Why it happens

Sometimes, we touch people in celebration or friendship, like a high five or a quick hug. This can be perfectly fine, and even welcomed. But some touches suggest we see another person as a novelty—like when we touch a Black woman’s hair, a pregnant woman’s belly, or a disabled person’s wheelchair—and this is demeaning and disrespectful. Some touches are also sexual in nature, and that is never OK at work.

Situation 6/14 : Everyday interactions

You see a colleague introduce a senior woman as “the nicest person in the office” without mentioning her job title or accomplishments.

Why it matters

When women are described only as “nice,” it can downplay their capabilities and reinforce the stereotype that women are nurturers—as opposed to leaders.379 This can be particularly undermining to senior-level women.

LeanIn.Org thanks the Stanford Women’s Leadership Lab for their valuable contribution to this card

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

Try to round out the compliment with a reference to the woman’s overall performance. If she recently led a project or is known to be a strong manager, say so. If you believe the woman’s personality is an asset to the company, you can make that point, too. For example, you might say, “Because of her way with clients, we’ve really expanded our customer base.” Just make sure to link it to a positive business outcome.

Why it happens

Because of traditional stereotypes that women are nurturing and communal, colleagues often pay more attention to their personality traits. This means that women’s hard skills, accomplishments, and leadership capabilities often go overlooked, which can slow their advancement.380

Situation 7/14 : Everyday interactions

Your team is led by a woman, but a colleague from another department assumes that a man on your team is the leader.

Why it matters

When this happens, it reinforces the idea that women aren’t leaders. It can also undermine your team leader and her standing in the group.

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

Jump into the conversation to correct the record: “[Name] is our team lead.” You can also say something that underscores her leadership abilities or accomplishments—for example, “She heads all our biggest sales efforts.”

Why it happens

People tend to assume men are more senior than the women around them. This is in part because we consciously or unconsciously associate men with leadership more strongly than we do women. It’s also because in many companies, men outnumber women in leadership positions, so this view becomes the norm.

Rooted in: Affinity bias

Situation 9/14 : Everyday Interactions

A coworker says, “I don’t see color.”

Why it matters

This comment denies a fundamental part of people’s identities. It also suggests that if we choose to ignore racism, it will go away on its own. In fact, many studies show that when people or institutions claim to be “color-blind,” they often perpetuate racism by failing to take action against it.80 To combat racism, you first have to face it head-on, then actively work to challenge racist stereotypes and behavior—both your own and those of others.81

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

You could ask a question to make your coworker reflect: “What’s wrong with acknowledging someone's race? Everyone’s identity is unique and should be appreciated.”82 Explain that while you understand they think they’re being fair and objective, “not seeing color” can make racism worse. Point out that this way of thinking signals that someone’s not interested in challenging racist behavior, whether or not that was the intention.

Why it happens

Your coworker may wish to deny that racism still exists.83 Or they may be falling into the trap of thinking that “not seeing color” is a way of avoiding racism, when in fact it perpetuates racism.84

Situation 10/14 : Everyday interactions

You’re talking to a woman of color on your team. A coworker from another team joins you and assumes she is much more junior than she really is.

Why it matters

This happens to women more than men—and to women of color most of all.303 Being mistaken for a more junior employee can feel disrespectful, even humiliating. Over time, the bad feelings from slights like this can add up and leave employees feeling unhappy and more likely to leave their job.304

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

Correct the record by stating the woman’s actual title. If it feels right, add some context that highlights her contributions to your company—for example, “She’s running point on our largest initiative this quarter” or “She’s our COO’s right-hand person.”

Longer term, consider recommending that the company implement bias training, which can help people avoid assumptions like this one.305

Why it happens

Research shows that we strongly associate men with leadership—but not always women.306 Women are twice as likely as men to be mistaken for someone much more junior—and women of color are often the most likely to experience this.307

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 11/14 : Everyday interactions

A coworker asks, “Who’s the new girl?”

Why it matters

Calling an adult woman a girl in a professional context can make her seem junior and inexperienced—and implies that she doesn’t need to be taken seriously. Comments like this are disrespectful to women.

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

You can reply, “The new woman we’ve hired is …” That might be enough to make your colleague rethink their language. Or be more direct: “I’m sure it wasn’t your goal, but calling her a girl can undermine her standing here at work.”

Why it happens

People tend to think that women are less competent than men,384 which leads them to take women less seriously—and to assume they have lower status and less power.385 That can make it seem acceptable to refer to a woman as a girl, when they would not call a man a boy.

Rooted in: Performance bias

Situation 12/14 : Everyday interactions

Someone complains to you that a new dad on the team is taking too much of his allotted family leave.

Why it matters

All workers—men too!—should be able to spend time with their families, whether that’s to bond with new babies, care for sick kids, or be there for aging parents. When workplaces have generous family leave policies, employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to stay on staff.184 Plus, when men don’t use their leave, it makes it harder for women to use theirs without judgment.

The “broken rung”

Use this set to learn how to address bias in hiring and promotions at the first step up to manager—the “broken rung” where women are often overlooked and left behind.

What to do

Stand up for your colleague on leave. Point out WHY IT MATTERS—how family leave is good for workers, families, and companies.185 More importantly, remind them that no one should be forced to choose between being a good employee and a good parent.

Why it happens

Working fathers can face pushback for spending time with their kids. They tend to receive lower performance ratings and experience steeper reductions in future earnings than mothers who take the same amount of leave.186 Much like maternal bias, this pushback is rooted in gender stereotypes. Moms are expected to be more committed to family and less to their careers.187 But the reverse is true for fathers, and when they go against that expectation by prioritizing family, they are penalized.188

Icebreaker 15/2 : Did you know?

For every 100 men hired as managers, how many Latinas are hired?