Here are some findings from a recent study done by Lean In:
Though more than 70 percent of companies say that they are committed to diversity, fewer than a third of employees feel that senior leaders communicate the importance of gender diversity or are held accountable for making progress. Further, only a quarter of employees say that they have seen managers challenge gender-biased language or behavior.
As a consequence, 33 percent of women reported feeling like their gender makes it more difficult to get a raise or promotion in comparison to about 10 percent of men.
But these are just numbers, and while numbers can be impactful they can also be impersonal. Gender bias in the workplace is more than statistics. It affects real women with individual stories. However, there haven’t been many platforms for women to share these stories. A new website was launched last week to change that.
Ariana DeLuca partnered with Fabian Molina for the launch of their new website, Hesaidwhaaat.com as a space for women to share the absurd comments they have been told in the workplace. Submissions are anonymously posted on the site where browsers can react to or share the story on social media.
“This project started one night after my jaw hit the ground one [too] many times from the things I heard men say to and about women…[Everything] I’ve witnessed while working [as well as the] stories I’ve heard from friends and coworkers inspired me to create this site. I wanted to create a space for women…to share their stories.” DeLuca told Her Agenda.
When women are given this space, it sends a powerful message about the nature of gender bias. Gender bias is not a vague, victimless concept; It isn’t rare. It is a real issue targeting individual women who are faced with ignorant comments by people who should know better:
“I hope our website tells victims of gender bias that they are not alone, and that there is a whole community of women and men out there fighting back against gender inequality. To the public, I hope our website shows the issues that are still happening…every single day in the workplace and that companies can start taking more aggressive steps to [establish] equality for both genders.” Said DeLuca.
Sharing stories creates empathy towards women affected by gender bias in a way that facts and figures can’t. When we have conversations about gender bias in the workplace, it’s important to treat the matter as a personal offense to women. Companies won’t experience a shift towards gender equality until people begin to evaluate the way that discrimination, even when expressed through quick comments, belittles a person. He Said Whaaat? is an incredible platform projecting that message.