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Why Is A Badly Parked Car Always A Woman’s Fault?

Unconscious gender bias is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we often do not realise we are acting on it. This needs to be addressed at every level.

I was in the middle of my exercise routine at the gym.

One of the receptionists entered the training area and made a beeline for me.

“Ma’am, did you come in a car?”
“Yes” I replied, in the middle of my shoulder presses.
“Is your car number ending with 4555? It’s parked wrongly, it’s obstructing the other cars.”
“No, it’s not my car”

He then went towards a bunch of men.

It’s a small thing – but something to be noted

This is not the first time, that when a car has been parked wrongly, the (unconscious) assumption is that it’s a woman who has done it.

The truth is that both inconsiderateness and poor judgement are gender-neutral traits.

Also, there are more men than women in my gym at any given hour and overall, more men drive cars than women do. So the statistical probability that a man had parked wrongly, is actually higher.

Yet the first move was made towards me.

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This gender bias against women is at every level

Ironically as a woman, I am also less likely to make a mistake because I am minutely supervised in my parking routine by the security guard, to the level that none of the men are. Both at the gym and elsewhere.

Not only does does the ‘helpful’ parking assistant blow his whistle often to alert me, he also ‘turns the wheel’ virtually to demonstrate how I should be doing it. Maybe he does that for young drivers, but I honestly don’t see him extending this blow-by-blow education to male drivers who are my age.

While I am being supervised, I am sure many other male drivers park without the benefit of such minute tutoring and end up occupying more space than they should.

I share this, as a very powerful example of how unconscious gender bias operates.

If the assumption is that women are more likely to have poor judgement when parking, it’s a bias which may lead you to ignore men who also park badly!

In contrast, think of how effortlessly men have donned the role of master chefs, orchestrating meals with artistry and creativity.

We don’t assume they will be bad at cooking because they are men.

It can be extremely instructive to observe the gender bias operating around us. And the correct training for everyone from security guards onwards, is not just to to ‘respect’ women. But to also not make gender based assumptions.

I realise it’s hard but that’s the only right way.

First published on LinkedIn

Image source: YouTube

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