Yesterday, as I was looking for an image to go with a blog I'd written about managers, I was reminded, yet again, of the implicit bias we have that managers have to be men. And most likely white men. When I did my image search, of the first 17 photos that popped up, 13 were men. And nine of those 13 definitely read as white. It was a depressing reminder of how much work we have to do.
As a woman who runs a company, it still stings when I see that our culture tells us (white) men are the most likely to be managers, or leaders, or CEOs. It is hard to imagine yourself in those pictures if everyone in them looks different than you do. And if you are growing up as a girl, or a person of color, or both, it can be a struggle to find any images of leaders who look like you.
We can do better. We need to do better. Representation can lead to change—if people begin to internalize that women and people of color are also managers, they'll be more likely to consider them for management positions. Right now, women represent 46.9% of the workforce in the United States, but only 40% of management positions. White women are the overwhelming majority of those managers. There are many many systemic reasons why women and people of color (and especially women of color) are underrepresented in management and leadership of companies, but making sure more images of women show up when you search "manager" on an image database *should* be an easy step to take.