Sophie Van Hattem

Pro Bono Adviser in our Responsible Business team tells us about what Break the Bias means to her and the challenges faced by women

What does Break the Bias mean to you? Are there, for example, any specific forms of bias that you have worked/are working to break or in respect of which you think further work needs to be done to break them?

One bias that seems to come up again and again is that strong, confident women are “bossy” instead of confident or determined.  

How can allies help to break the bias (or any specific form of bias)?

The next time you think that a woman is being difficult or domineering, ask yourself whether you would have had those thoughts if she were a man.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women?

Something that has certainly been a challenge for me is doubt in my abilities and being concerned about the opinions of others. I am discouraged from doing things out of fear that I might not be able to do them perfectly. While this experience is not exclusive to women, when you are the only woman in a room you can feel as though you are a representative for all women, and that in doing less than a perfect job you will reflect badly on all of us. It helps to remind myself that we are all learning as we go. I have worked for years to “fake it til I make it” in terms of putting on a confident front and seeking out opportunities, and it is something I try to encourage women around me to do.

Putting on a confident front and seeking out opportunities… it is something I try to encourage women around me to do.