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Mary Hayashi – Gender Bias in the Workplace

mary hayashi gender biases in the workplace - mary hayashi

“It is important to address gender bias in the workplace to create a fair and inclusive work environment that allows everyone to reach their full potential.” – Mary Hayashi.


Gender bias in the workplace is a pervasive issue that affects many individuals, particularly women and other marginalized groups. This bias can manifest in various ways, such as unequal pay, limited opportunities for career advancement, harassment or discrimination, and stereotyping based on gender. Therefore, it is important to address gender bias in the workplace to create a fair and inclusive work environment that allows everyone to reach their full potential.

A study that highlights the need for addressing gender bias in the workplace is the Women in the Workplace report from the website Lean In. This groundbreaking study draws on insights from over 42,000 employees across 317 companies, revealing a concerning trend: women still face formidable professional obstacles.   

According to a USA Today article, Asian women are often stereotyped as too deferential and submissive to lead businesses or hold public office. This stereotype contributes to the fact that Asian women are only half as likely as white women to hold executive positions and are on par with Black and Hispanic women. It is worth noting that none of the S&P 100 companies have an Asian woman serving as their CEO, and only four of the Fortune 500 companies’ CEOs are Asian.  Ruchika Tulshyan, a diversity, and women’s leadership expert, has pointed out that Asian women are often expected to be “submissive and grateful,” conforming to narrow expectations of what it means to be a “likable” professional. Unfortunately, Asian women who break this mold can face penalties and discrimination.

From the gender pay gap to a lack of representation in leadership roles, the report paints a sobering picture of the current state of affairs. But it’s not all bad news. The study also highlights the need for companies to step up and take concrete action to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

In this blog post, we will explore what gender bias in the workplace is, how it affects the workplace, and some examples of gender biases in business. We will also discuss potential solutions to address gender bias and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.



What Are Gender Biases in the Workplace?

Gender biases can creep into the workplace in subtle and harmful ways, hindering women and other marginalized groups from achieving their full potential. Here are some of the most common forms of bias that can take root in the workplace:


It’s not uncommon for people to make assumptions about someone’s job performance and ability, potentially based solely on their gender. This type of stereotyping can be particularly harmful to women, who may be unfairly labeled as less competent or ambitious than their male counterparts.

Unequal Pay

Even though women and men may have equal qualifications and experience, it’s not uncommon for women and other marginalized groups to be paid less than their male coworkers for the same job. Talk about a frustrating and unfair situation!

Lack of Opportunities for Advancement

Biases in hiring and promotion can also limit the career advancement opportunities available to women and other marginalized groups. It’s too common for these groups to hit a glass ceiling that prevents them from moving up the career ladder.

Gender-based Harassment and Discrimination

Sexual harassment and sexist comments are still a reality for many women and other marginalized groups in the workplace. These forms of discrimination can make work a hostile and uncomfortable environment and can even lead to long-term psychological damage.



How Does Gender Bias Affect the Workplace?

As someone who has worked in politics and healthcare, I, Mary Hayashi, have seen firsthand the negative consequences of gender bias in the workplace. It affects not only individuals but also the productivity and reputation of the company. Here are some examples:

Decreased Productivity

When gender bias is present in the workplace can cause decreased productivity due to lower morale, higher rates of employee turnover, and absenteeism.

Reduced Employee Morale and Job Satisfaction

Employees who experience gender bias may feel less motivated and satisfied with their job, decreasing their overall productivity.

Increased Turnover Rates

Gender bias can also lead to higher employee turnover rates as workers leave the company due to discrimination or a lack of opportunities.

Negative Impact on Company Reputation

Companies that fail to address gender bias can face negative publicity, damaging their reputation and making.

Companies must take a proactive approach to address gender bias in the workplace. By creating a more inclusive and equitable environment, businesses can improve their employees’ lives and boost their bottom line.


(Gender biases) affects not only individuals but also the productivity and reputation of the company as a whole.” – Mary Hayashi


What are Some Examples of Gender Biases?

In my years of activism and advocacy, I, Mary Hayashi, have had the unfortunate opportunity to witness firsthand the countless ways in which gender bias can take root in the workplace. Seeing women in leadership positions encounter subtle yet soul-crushing micro-aggressions and outright discrimination in their professional lives is often difficult. As someone who has experienced these biases, I understand the toll they can take on one’s confidence and well-being.

Gender-based Assumptions About Job Performance and Ability

Unfortunately, it’s too common for women to be underestimated and undervalued in the workplace. This can lead to assumptions that women are less competent or less ambitious than their male counterparts, which can limit their opportunities for career advancement.

Discrimination in Hiring and Promotion

Even in 2023, it’s not uncommon for qualified women and other marginalized groups to be passed over for job opportunities or promotions in favor of less-qualified men. This type of discrimination can be challenging to identify and address, but it can significantly impact the careers and livelihoods of those affected.

Microaggressions, Such as Sexist Jokes or Comments

While they may seem innocuous, these types of comments can contribute to a culture of gender bias in the workplace. They create a hostile work environment that can make it difficult for women to feel valued and respected in their roles.


What are Examples of Gender Bias in Business?

Male-dominated Leadership and Executive Teams

Despite progress in recent years, studies show that many companies still have a leadership and executive team that is predominantly male. This can create a culture that values masculine traits and perspectives over feminine ones, leading to further discrimination against women and minorities.

Unequal Pay for Women and Minorities

It’s no secret that women and minorities are often paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. This wage gap affects the individual’s earning potential and can also impact their ability to save, invest, and retire comfortably.

Lack of Family-Friendly Policies

Women are still expected to bear most caregiving responsibilities for children and elderly family members. This can make it challenging for them to balance work and family responsibilities. Companies that do not offer family-friendly policies such as paid parental leave, flexible work arrangements, or on-site childcare can exacerbate this problem and contribute to gender bias in the workplace.

These are just a few examples of how gender bias can manifest in business. Companies need to recognize and address these issues to create a more inclusive and equitable work environment for all employees.



Solutions to Gender Biases in the Workplace

As someone who has been a champion of gender equity and diversity in the workplace, I, Mary Hayashi, firmly believe that addressing gender bias is a smart business strategy. Here are some solutions that can help combat gender bias in the workplace:

Increasing Awareness and Education About Gender Bias

Many people may not know their biases or how gender bias can manifest in the workplace. Education and awareness campaigns can help employees recognize and address their biases and contribute to a more inclusive work environment.

Implementing Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Companies can take concrete steps to increase diversity and promote inclusion in the workplace. This can include initiatives such as targeted recruitment and hiring practices, leadership development programs for women and minorities, and employee resource groups that provide support and networking opportunities.

Enforcing Anti-discrimination Laws and Regulations

Governments can play a critical role in combating gender bias by enacting laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination based on gender or other protected characteristics. This can help ensure employees are treated fairly and equally in the workplace.

Promoting Gender Equity in Political Representation

Women are often underrepresented in politics, which can have a ripple effect on gender equity in society as a whole. By promoting gender equity in political representation, we can help ensure that women’s voices and perspectives are heard and valued.

Addressing the Intersectionality of Gender Bias with Other Forms of Discrimination

Gender bias often intersects with other forms of discrimination, such as racism, ableism, or homophobia. It’s important to recognize and address these intersections to create a truly inclusive work environment that values diversity in all its forms.

Supporting Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Finally, leaders must actively support and invest in diversity and inclusion initiatives. This can include providing resources and funding for employee resource groups, offering training and development opportunities for underrepresented groups, and holding managers accountable for promoting diversity and inclusion in their teams.


As we’ve seen, gender bias in the workplace can have far-reaching negative consequences for individuals and companies. From decreased productivity to increased turnover rates, gender bias can significantly hinder the success and growth of businesses. Therefore, we must address this issue head-on and take steps to create more equitable and inclusive workplaces.

So what can we do to make a difference? First and foremost, increasing awareness and education about gender bias is critical. By educating ourselves and our colleagues about the issue, we can begin to recognize and address biases as they arise.

In addition, implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, enacting and enforcing anti-discrimination laws and regulations, and promoting gender equity in political representation are all critical steps toward creating more equitable workplaces. We must also address the intersectionality of gender bias with other forms of discrimination, such as racism and ableism, to create truly inclusive environments.

But creating positive change doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of businesses and government organizations. We can take action in our workplaces and communities to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. By speaking out against gender bias and advocating for change, we can create a more just and equitable society for all.

So let’s take action and create a world where gender bias is a thing of the past. We can build a better future for ourselves, our colleagues, and communities.


“From decreased productivity to increased turnover rates, gender bias can hinder the success and growth of businesses in significant ways.” – Mary Hayashi.



About Mary Hayashi

Mary Hayashi is a respected healthcare leader and former California State Assemblymember. She has over two decades of experience in healthcare and public service, having served on several boards and committees related to health policy and advocacy. During her time in the Assembly, Hayashi authored vital legislation to improve access to healthcare and mental health services, particularly for underserved and vulnerable communities. She is also a strong advocate for the rights of patients and healthcare workers. Hayashi’s work has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including the California Primary Care Association’s “Legislator of the Year” award and the Women’s Foundation of California’s “Women’s Policy Maker Award.” Today, Hayashi continues to be a passionate voice for healthcare reform and mental health issues, advocating for increased investment in resources for mental health professionals and better care for all. Learn more about Mary and her mental health advocacy here.

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