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#womenASCOA Video: From Unconscious Bias to Conscious Decision-making

Thursday, October 19, 2017


  • Susan Clancy, Research Director, INCAE Center for Collaborative and Women’s Leadership
  • Cristina Díaz, Senator (Nuevo León), Senate of the Republic of Mexico
  • Nicolas Grabar, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb
  • Jeanne Pollès, President, Latin America & Canada Region, Philip Morris International
  • Serena Fong, Vice President of Government Affairs, Catalyst (moderator)

Gender equality is a matter of competitiveness, but when it comes to people's unconscious bias, the workplace can present invisible challenges to women. Unconscious bias "is not men's fault against women," said INCAE's Susan Clancy during AS/COA's Sixth Annual Women's Hemispheric Network Conference, explaining there is data showing women also evaluate women differently than men. Panelists discussed how to learn to recognize and interrupt those biases and change the culture in the office. 

Nicolas Grabar talked about strategies to talk with men about recognizing unconscious bias, such as educating speakers before meetings. Jeanne Pollès spoke on the importance of being yourself as a professional, challenging assumptions about women working in leadership positions in the private sector, and making an effort to rethink our own preconceptions about others. Cristina Díaz, senator for the Mexican state of Nuevo León, noted how women's participation isn't just a matter of equality but also raises a country's GDP and makes the economy and society more competitive. And Clancy talked about how women can be upfront about their needs to achieve leadership at work and what systems have to be implemented in organizations to ensure recruitment, job interviews, and performance evaluations are not defined by biases. "Don’t try and fit yourself into traditional expectations for what your firms want. You are not the man who worked there for the last 50 years," said Clancy. "You’re something differently entirely and you need different things. Ask for them. Don’t drop out, don’t quit. Ask for what you need, and then show them."

Learn more about the AS/COA Women's Hemispheric Network Conference