In the context of gender diversity, the issue of stereotypes is receiving more and more attention. The magazine Psychoscope (a product of the federation of the Swiss psychologists) concentrated/focused its January issue on the topic „Women and Careers“.

It investigates the question, how careers of women succeed – despite stereotypes and unfavorable conditions.

Constantin Schön and Katja Rost, from the Institute of Sociology of the University of Zurich, dedicate one article to the topic „Stereotypes as Stumbling Blocks“.

What is a stereotype?

A stereotype is a simplified description of a person or a group. It is usually very pictorial and corresponds to widespread imaginary ideas.

Stereotypes help to understand the complexity of our social world by processing its impressions very quickly. However, stereotypes are also problematic, as they simplify reality too much, especially when complex behaviors are involved (such as the behavior of managers).

Stereotypically, managers should be self-confident, decisive and competitive. These characteristics are also considered to be typically male, which is why men are often regarded as the „natural leaders“. Women that have made their way up to leadership roles find themselves in difficult positions, as they do not correspond to the typical gender stereotype.

How do organizations deal with these stereotypes in the best way?

According to the authors of the article, employees should be provided with tools to raise their awareness of distorted expectations and stereotypes. They suggest for instance, a management training on „Unconscious Bias“. It is crucial that the fight against stereotypes becomes an important matter for the top management, as the issue must be strategically anchored in the corporate structure to initiate targeted measures and advance projects.

In our „Unconscious Bias Trainings“, HR managers and executives are sensitized to distortions such as prejudices, stereotypes and other misconceptions. The practical workshop supports the participants in identifying „critical events“ and situations and helps them to define adequate countermeasures.

Our next public workshop „Unconscious Bias in the Company: How to overcome the autopilot in our brain“ will take place on the 5th of September 2019.

You can find the registration and further information here.

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