One answer lies in increasing awareness of this form (or any others) of unconscious bias with the people making the selections and with electorates. That however is a societal and macro level issues, at the very least organisational in scope. Political parties for example would do well to educate people involved in their selection processes to avoid this Likeability Bias, as well as any other biases against gender, ethnicity, colour or religion. This is however a challenging task, as all forms of bias are a function of the society or culture they are formed in and are deeply embedded in them so changing those deeply ingrained paradigms is a hard and lengthy process.
But for women seeking office today, what can the individual do to deal with this issue and give herself a better chance of overcoming it?
Three main strategies
- Strike a balance
- Call it out
- Make it a strength
The first step is of course to be aware of the challenges that the Likeability Bias presents. Awareness in itself enables you to start thinking about how you successfully navigate the challenge.
Next week we will cover how to ‘Strike it out’ or you can download the full article here