The subtleties of gender bias

In the eighties, I worked on a project that required me to travel with a team to a site where we had to sign in and wear badges. We went there about once every month for over a year. It drove me crazy because the security guards (both male and female) would hand me my badge and say, “Here you go, Carol,” and then hand the male team member his badge with, “Here you go, Mr. James.”

Today, thirty years later, the same thing happened. A receptionist called me “Carol,” and my husband, “Mr. Anderson.” Dang. Wouldn’t you think we would have evolved, given all of the focus on diversity and inclusion?

In the nineties, I headed a diversity initiative for a bank. One of the elephants hanging around the room in those days was the chatter among female executives who were learning to play golf because they were tired of having business discussion occur on the golf course when they weren’t there. (more…)

Don’t be embarrassed…

embarrassAn article titled “These Ten Policies Are An Embarrassment to the HR Profession” appeared in my newsfeed yesterday. Posted by Liz Ryan in Forbes, I devoured the content and tweeted it to my network saying, “Right on! Absolutely! Embarrassing is a good word!

I read it again this morning, and had a slightly different reaction. I really like Liz Ryan’s writing; she says it like it is – no words minced. And what she says always makes sense. I nod my head and go, “Yup.”

But then I came back down to earth and realized that, while the words resonate, thar’s danger in them, thar waters.

In the post, she slams policies like progressive discipline, doctors’ notes for absences, funeral notices to justify bereavement leave and reference policies that prohibit managers from providing references for their employees.  There are others, but these I mention all share the element of trust. If trust were present, there really would be no need for policies such as these.  Can’t argue there. (more…)

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

lincoln_gettysburgpaintingThis article is a different topic for me, but one I can’t stop thinking about. I thought I’d share my thoughts and would like to hear yours. I have deliberately tried to present neither side, but the more holistic question that faces us – how do we come together? I wish I had an answer.


“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.

We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.

Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.

In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as newNorth as well as South.”

Abraham Lincoln campaign speech for US Senate, June 1858. (By the way, he lost to Stephen Douglas only later to become our 16th President.)


We are, once again, a house divided.  Fractured might be a more descriptive word.  Our choices in this coming election are polarized, with each side using colorful and destructive language to describe the other side. (more…)