Bias incognito: how our hidden assumptions lead to inequities in science, and what we can do about it

Date & time

12–1pm 15 October 2015


Fenner Seminar Room, Frank Fenner Building 141, Linnaeus Way ANU


Deborah May


Research has shown that both men and women hold unconscious bias against women working in roles which are stereotypically ‘male’, and vice versa. The problem is that we are all biased! Even when we think we’re making objective decisions, we’re probably not. This means that even those who consciously support gender equality can be unconsciously biased in their behaviors, speech or decisions.

In this interactive presentation, Deborah will discuss how unconscious bias manifests and is reinforced through social, cultural and organisational norms and practices; and how this impacts:

  • Decision making and assessments of suitability and capability;
  • Recruitment and promotion into senior leadership roles;
  • The retention of women in science and research.

Deborah will also outline strategies for overcoming unconscious bias, both for organisations and individuals. Her presentation will include opportunities for interaction and reflection.

A catered lunch (from 1-2pm) will follow the presentation to allow for further discussion.

The seminar will be introduced by Professor Stephen Dovers, Director of the Fenner School of Environment and Society.


Hosted by the Fenner Gender Equity in the Sciences group, the Fenner School of Environment and Society, and the College of Medicine, Biology and Environment (CMBE) Gender Equity Committee.

Proudly supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions.

About the speaker

Deborah is a Fulbright Scholar, graduating from the only business school in the world designed for women, Simmons School of Management, in Boston and is principal of her consulting company, The May Group.

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