By Gina Oritz:
“Cheers!” “ Cheers to what!?” My dear friend Koso exclaimed climbing onto the side of the bar to join in the celebratory happy hour. “Cheers to all women who despite however many interviews they go on, no matter how much institutional bias they face, may they never lose sight of their dreams!” “You can say that again! Cheers!” We shared.
Koso has been on the job hunt for 3 months now, embarked upon 6 interviews thus far, 2 secondary interviews and still, no callbacks. In one interview she was asked about whether or not she had an adequate childcare arrangement, in another she was asked if her religious beliefs and political stance on abortion would influence her capabilities of remaining neutral in the workplace. Furthermore, what could a woman like her offer that the majority of other applicants bring to the table? A woman like her? Talk about poor choice of words.
“I am ready for a challenge, more money, more social capital, more learning experiences in the field, I am eager and very communicative to employers on my willingness to learn, grow, succeed why can’t they see that!?” Koso questioned. Case management has always been one of the most rewarding yet exhausting jobs Koso and I ever endured in our careers thus far. I was fortunate enough to have moved on 6 years ago while Koso remained with the company and continues to work there today.
Authenticity is the quality of being real, genuine, and worthy of acceptance. If we truly, deeply, sincerely, take the time to nurture our true sense of self and stand up against institutional bias with confidence, we can challenge the misperception of women everywhere one beautiful soul at a time. How? By taking care of ourselves, building up our self confidence by any means and bringing those around us up with us! 70% of women refrain from applying to jobs they are interested in because they simply feel they don’t fit every single requirement listed in the job description; however, most qualification listings are mere desired qualifications and not always written in stone. Women are consistently holding themselves back from success! In light of not being our own enemy, I say believe in yourself, believe and turn everyone into believers! Apply, apply, apply!
Institutional bias is a disease that manifests into endless forms and for some may be a matter of perception but women everywhere need to face it head on and defy those odds by putting their best foot forward no matter what, but always remember to be Be-You-tiful! Here are some practical tips:
- Apply to every job you know you’ll serve as an essential asset to regardless of the extended requirements.
- Be your own cheerleader, sometimes our circumstances call for nothing more than faith in who we are but more importantly, who we wish to be, disregard any outside commentary that have the potential to tamper with your confidence, be-you-tiful!
- Always dress for success and be mindful of how you introduce yourself to the world! Confidence and class with a hint of undeniable determination never hurt anyone. Be assertive, knowledgeable of all the latest policies, procedures and recent legislation that ultimately weighs in our favor such as it is no longer legal to inquire about our prior salaries. This policy challenges the potential for gender bias when discussing desired salary amounts at point of interview or later.
- Take advantage of professional social media accounts, seek new connections and network!
- Always have an end in mind! (Ask yourself, where / who do you want to be!)You cannot deny a woman who knows exactly what she wants.
- Master time management! If you are like me, our ambitions can often build up beyond our time capacity but with effective time management we can do it all! Yes we Can! -Gina Ortiz
About the author:
Gina Ortiz is a graduate assistant with Women in The Public Sector at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and passionate advocate for Gender equality, personal & intersocietal empowerment and leadership through opportunity for women everywhere.