By Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris
Gender stereotypes and the biases that flow from them are pervasive in all professions, including the practice of law. As a woman, it is likely that you have wondered how well you deal with gender biases and whether they impede your career advancement. Do you know how effective you are in avoiding or overcoming the discriminatory consequences of gender biases? Are your skills at coping with gender bias better or worse than those of other women? And, are there practical techniques you are not aware of to successfully navigate gender bias?
To help you answer these questions, we have posted a confidential assessment of gender bias coping skills on our website at www.AndieandAl.com/assessment/.
The assessment consists of 10 hypothetical situations that you imagine yourself facing. Depending on what you do in each situation, you can either increase or decrease the risks of potentially serious gender-biased consequences. After each situation, we provide three possible courses of action. These three actions are not the only ways in which you could act in the situation, but we have seen they are the most common ways in which women act in similar situations. In each situation, you will be asked to select the course of action closest to the way in which you think you would actually react.
Once you submit your answers, you will receive an email containing an evaluation of your effectiveness in coping with gender bias. You will also receive some practical tips about how you can advance in your career despite gender bias. The assessment is easy to take, free of charge, and your results are strictly confidential. It should only take a few minutes to complete.
We posted the assessment on our website in late May 2016. As of today, about 350 people, mostly women (but some men), have taken the assessment. The aggregate results break down as follows:
- 20% of the women who have taken the assessment show highly attuned gender coping skills. They have excellent instincts for navigating gender-biased career situations.
65% of the women who have taken the assessment have a firm foundation to further improve their attuned gender coping skills. They are on their way to developing strong skills for navigating gender-biased career situations.
15% of the women who have taken the assessment are just beginning to develop their gender-coping skills. They can increase their skills by learning more about gender stereotypes, the biases that flow from them, and techniques for successfully navigating gender bias.
If you have not already taken the assessment, we urge you to do so and see how your skills stack up. If you are not happy with your results, don’t give up. No matter where you fall on the assessment scale, you can further develop your skills. We also urge you to join the conversations that take place about the articles we post on our blog, www.AndieandAl.com/blog.
©2016 by Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared in the WBAI Fall 2016 Newsletter.
Andrea S. Kramer is a partner in McDermott Will & Emery LLP.
Alton B. Harris is a partner in Nixon Peabody LLP. Andie and Al are married and former law partners. They are the authors of Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work (Bibliomotion, Brookline, MA, 2016.) Visit Andie and Al at www.AndieandAl.com, and at www.facebook.com/breakingthroughbias/.