A marketing manager was making a presentation to a large supermarket chain. The marketing team consisted of one male and one female. The supermarket fielded a mixed gender team, albeit somewhat bigger.

“I was the lead presenter and had been advising our client for some time. I had asked my female colleague to join me for the final presentation as she had expertise in this type of business and had done most of the research that formed the basis of our presentation.

To begin with, I outlined our general approach but then asked my colleague to take over as she knew much more than I did about this sector of the market.

“She did a great job, but the disconcerting aspect of it all was that all the subsequent questions were being directed at me. I suspected there was an unconscious bias at work.

So, I excused myself to make a phone call on the pretext of checking some facts with my boss. 

When I returned 20 minutes later, no questions were asked of me where my colleague had the expertise. She was now in firm control of the discussion.”

“My parents had always treated my siblings, both male and female, the same way in word and action. They gave us all the same chances to make what we wanted of life. So that day, I knew my parents would have been proud of me. I had realised that I could be an ally to female colleagues’ success and help tackle the ever-present problem of unconscious bias whenever it cropped up again. I also passed on my experience to my female colleagues back in the office. None of them were surprised. They had suffered exclusion on numerous occasions