by Rachael Powell
Originally published: May 31, 2017
The MPW Insiders Network is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for, “How can women respond to gender stereotyping at work? ” is written by Rachael Powell, chief people officer at Xero.
I’ve spent much of my career in tech, an industry where it can be a battle to be taken seriously if you’re female. Many of us—including women—are unaware of how deeply engrained gender stereotypes can be.
When someone behaves in a way that offends your sense of fairness or decency, the first line of response should be humor or at least a friendly nudge. Call out behaviors or attitudes that are unwelcome, but give the offenders the benefit of the doubt. Many people may be unaware of how they’re perceived. Don’t assume they’re coming from a bad place, but rather remember that gender stereotyping is often unconscious. They may just need help to make it conscious.