Women of Color—and Leadership—Share Their Experiences With Workplace Inequality in Poignant PSA

Nonprofit Catalyst continues its #BiasCorrect campaign

In a PSA created by Burns Group, women share how they've been impacted by unconscious gender bias at work. Catalyst
Headshot of Minda Smiley

Gender bias in the workplace is very real, although sometimes unconscious, and particularly felt among women of color. Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, global nonprofit Catalyst is shining a light on the stereotypes and biases women are often subjected to at work, many of which can be detrimental to their careers.

Catalyst, which works with companies to accelerate progress for women at work, worked with brand consultancy Burns Group on a video that showcases female executives sharing their stories of bias in the workplace.

In the film, Amber Guild, president of branded content studio T Brand at the New York Times, says that she experienced unconscious gender bias earlier in her career while trying to ask for a raise.

“I had taken on a couple more accounts and won a good amount of new business for the office,” Guild said. “It came time for a review. I asked my manager, who was a woman, whether or not I could be looked at for a raise. The response I got was that I was being difficult and that I was asking for more than I deserve. I was heartbroken.”

Dr. Sheila Robinson, publisher and CEO of Diversity Woman Media, explains that she often feels invisible in certain rooms as a black woman.

In a shorter video, Uber’s chief diversity and inclusion officer Bo Young Lee shares some of the stereotypes she’s had to deal with at work as an East Asian woman. For instance, she said her quietness is sometimes misinterpreted as coldness.

“Society projects so much onto East Asian women, and they overlook us all the time,” she said.

The videos are an extension of Catalyst’s #BiasCorrect campaign, which made its debut last year ahead of International Women’s Day. As part of the campaign, women can create photos of themselves that feature words people have used to describe them at work, such as “nag,” “bossy” and “emotional.” The photos highlight the sexist undertones of such words and offer up more suitable alternatives, like replacing “pushy” with “persuasive,” for example.

Additionally, a Slack plugin available in four languages identifies words that contribute to gender stereotyping and suggests alternatives. According to Catalyst, nearly 300 workplace teams have downloaded the #BiasCorrect plugin since it launched last year.

Catalyst is one of many organizations to show their support for International Women’s Day this year. NBCUniversal recently announced that its long-running public service announcement brand The More You Know will focus on women’s empowerment for the next year, while UN Women released an ad earlier this week that addresses gender inequality.

Last year, Citi filmed the reactions of young girls learning about the gender pay gap in a campaign for International Day of the Girl. The push aligned with Citi’s overall effort to recruit and promote more women into senior roles at the company.

Burns Group
Associate Creative Director, Writer: Whitley Edwards
Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Meghan Dailey
CEO: Joanne McKinney
Group Account Director: Natalie Glaser
Assistant Account Executive: Rachel Zamsky
Director of Integrated Production: Alanda Fellows
Senior Integrated Producer: Jamie Florence
Integrated Producer: Maria Hummel
Associate Producer: Victoria McMachan

Slack App development: WillowTree
Website development: Southern Made
Photographer/Director, ATRBUTE Reps: Celeste Sloman
Post-production: Bandit/Mr. Bronx

@Minda_Smiley minda.smiley@adweek.com Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.