#BreakTheBias in the Workplace [Watch]

Adi Weinberger

1 March, 2022

“Men are strong and born to lead”, “women are too emotional”, “men are aggressive”, “women are not assertive” – although humanity has certainly come a long way, we still grow up surrounded by gender stereotypes and biases about men and women (not to mention gender dichotomy). This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias. We all give in to bias sometimes, without even noticing, and it’s certainly an opportunity for each one of us to inspect our common beliefs.

Two years ago, for International Women’s Day 2020, we ran an experiment. We asked over 20 people to solve a riddle, and you’d be surprised of their responses:


What we see in this video is an implicit gender bias. An implicit bias is an unconscious tendency to choose one gender, race or another group over another, or to categorize a person based on stereotypes. Unfortunately,
research showed that both men and women are twice more likely to hire a man than a woman, while McKinsey’s 2021 Women in the Workplace report found that for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted.

Breaking the Gender Bias at Mindspace

Here at Mindspace we can proudly say that employees are hired – as well as promoted – according to their capabilities. We currently employ 70.7% women and 29.3% men, with a total of over 160 employees worldwide. 

But it’s not just about who’s on the team overall. When taking a closer look, 13% of the women were promoted over the past year, and 65% of all directors and above are women. Moreover, over 62% of the C-level executives at Mindspace are women. Our VP HR, Dana Riklis, was promoted mid-pregnancy.

What can men do to break the gender bias at the workplace? We asked our executives for suggestions. Read their answers below.

Gili Shalita, CFO & COO

Gili Shalita

What can men do to promote gender equality in the workplace, and to challenge gender bias?

First of all, they should be conscious of their biases and try to break them. Their point of view should be clear of gender; the same applies to women. Several years ago we didn’t even talk about biases. We need to pay attention to this issue, as well as take steps of affirmative action.

Tell me about a specific man that broke gender bias and made a positive impact on your career.

The person who comes to mind is the first man who gave me a great career opportunity, although it’s impossible for me to know whether it consciously involved breaking a gender bias. This specific case did involve breaking an age bias; when I was 34, he hired me for a CFO position replacing a 50-year-old man.

Have you ever held a gender bias? What did you do once you realized that?

I once interviewed a male candidate for the role of an accountant. He gave the impression that he didn’t seem right for what I had in mind – muscular, tough, indifferent. Eventually I ignored this, and I’m very glad that I did and didn’t give into bias.

Many times I find myself the subject of gender bias, when people address me as a man by email, because of my name and because many people picture a CFO as a man.

Dari Shechter, VP Design & Creative

Dari Shechter

What can men do to promote gender equality in the workplace, and to challenge gender bias?

I don’t think that it’s just about taking a certain action, but first and foremost about raising awareness. Once someone takes gender inequality into consideration, only then can they start treating people equally, regardless of their gender. Many are just unaware of this inequality.

Tell me about a specific man that broke gender-bias and made a positive impact on your career.

This question is intrinsically gender biased since you’re asking about a man and not about a person.

Have you ever held a gender bias? What did you do once you realized that?

I’m trying not to fall into gender bias, but many times I found myself getting a handyman rather than a handywoman to work with me. About a year ago this fact annoyed me, and so I took a maintenance and repair course.

Yotam Alroy, Co-Founder & Chief of Business Development

What can men do to promote gender equality in the workplace, and to challenge gender bias?

Recruiting a substantial number of women to an organization should be an obvious procedure. In my professional experience, hiring women did not come down to a deliberate decision, but rather a natural one. In fact, Mindspace’s first employee was a woman, and today around 70% of our employees and the majority of our senior management team are women.

Managers should lead by example – foster equal job opportunities and gender equality in a company. At Mindspace, women have always been at the forefront, and we constantly make the importance of gender equality clear.

Efrat Fenigson, CMO

Efrat Fenigson

What can men do to promote gender equality in the workplace, and to challenge gender bias?

First of all, when hiring new employees, it’s important to make sure that we interview enough women for a certain role. If you see that most candidates are men, you can ask the recruiters to try and source more female candidates.

As far as employee retention and promotion go, it’s important to make sure that we create as many promotion opportunities for women as we do for men. If we don’t, we should ask ourselves why not. If the reason has to do with productivity, then we should check how we measure productivity: do we only look at the hours that an employee spends in the office, or do we measure it by the scope and quality of well delivered projects? The idea is to create a uniform benchmark for both men and women, that measures productivity in parameters other than time spent in the office.

I believe that when there are more women in senior roles in a company, it fosters an organizational culture of female empowerment – women can see that it’s possible to be promoted and succeed.

Another change that I would like to see more often is that each company’s board of directors would include more women.

Tell me about a specific man that broke gender bias and made a positive impact on your career.

When I worked for the company Viaccess-Orca, my boss David Leporini really believed in me. He recognized my abilities better than I did, and actively encouraged me to turn to public speaking – first internally in the company and then out of the company at conventions.

He believed that I am a good public speaker and that I could and should develop this skill. And he was right. I loved it and even today I encourage others to hone their public speaking skills – it’s an invaluable tool to take a stand, make an impact and to make your voice heard.

Have you ever held a gender bias?

When my team first showed me the International Women’s Day video above, I also got the wrong answer and said that the candidate probably has two fathers!

Omer Elad, VP Sales & Operations

Omer Elad

What can men do to promote gender equality in the workplace, and to challenge gender bias?

First of all, men must create a working environment that is much more accepting and equal, and less sexist. We must treat each person according to their personality and abilities and not their gender. Unfortunately, at this point of time, gender bias is not going to disappear on its own; we must work hard to break it and be aware of the percentage of women in the team.

Tell me about a real-life example from your experience.

I’m doing my best to allow my employees to manage their family lives – to be able to fulfill themselves as mothers and to advance their careers. My team has a clear female majority. I constantly pay attention to the percentage of women, and sometimes hire a woman for a certain role as an affirmative action.

Have you ever held a gender bias?

Everybody can fall for a stereotype, even if you think you don’t. I caught myself perceiving women to be more sensitive and men to be tougher. Reality proved me that I was wrong, and that things are more complicated than that.

Ana Nekhamkin, VP Real Estate

Ana Nekhamkin

What can men do to promote gender equality in the workplace, and to challenge gender bias?

The first step is for men to be more open-minded and to listen.

Tell me about a specific man that broke gender bias and made a positive impact on your career.

I can actually think of several such men. I was fortunate to work with men who value womens’ opinions. Even when I was younger in my career, I worked with men who asked for my opinion in front of other men, and thus had signaled their support to others.

Tell me about a real-life example of gender bias from your professional experience.

Sometimes in a male-dominated work setting, women who advance in their career try to appear more masculine and end up coming across as rough. Losing their soft feminine touch is a shame because women can use it effectively. A combination of confidence and feminine touch can get them very far in their career.

Dana Riklis, VP HR

Dana Riklis

What can men do to promote gender equality in the workplace, and to challenge gender bias?

Men in management positions should make sure to foster gender equality in all disciplines of their employees’ work lives: from equal salaries, to equal work conditions and career paths. They should take an active stand. If they see that any decision is gender biased, even if nobody asks them to, they should take the initiative to fix it.

Tell me about a real-life example from your experience.

During my career I’ve seen male managers hire pregnant women for their teams without fearing that it would have an impact on work somehow; it was only about skills and abilities, and not about family status or the available time to spend in the office.

I also experienced a scenario in which a man and a woman were competing for the same role. The man asked for a higher salary than the woman did. Eventually, the woman got hired, and the hiring manager insisted that she will get paid the higher salary according to what the male candidate had requested.

And, of course, I currently work at a company led by two male founders, but with a significant female employee majority.

First Step: Awareness

As most of our interviewees responded, the first step towards gender equality at the workplace should be being aware of the existence of gender bias. Making a conscious decision and taking action to break this bias is still necessary in our times. And you, what do you think: how do you break the bias in your life?

About the author

Adi Weinberger is a Content Marketing Manager at Mindspace.

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