‘Assumptions’

Hidden camera video exposes subconscious sexist biases that even women have about workplace leadership

Women entrepreneurs were forced to guess which office held the company's CEO. (YouTube)

As Uber struggles to remake its reputation for being one of the tech sector’s most notoriously sexist companies, the embattled ride services provider is teaming up with digital media company Girlboss to run UberPitch, a new startup funding competition that will give three entrepreneurs more than $200,000 in cash and Uber ride-hailing credit to help make their businesses a reality.

In a video promoting the competition, the two companies helped to illustrate the obstacles that face women in leadership by secretly videotaping women entrepreneurs as they were given a difficult challenge — having to guess whether the CEO of the company they were pitching their business to was a man or a woman.

The ad showed the entrepreneurs being told by a female assistant that the CEO was waiting to speak with them in a glass office at the end of a hallway. But when the unsuspecting women reached the end of the hallway, they were confronted with two glass offices — one containing a man, and the other a woman. Reactions varied. Some chose to knock solely on the door of the man, while others chose to knock on the women’s door. A number of women even hedged their bets by knocking on both doors simultaneously. Afterward, Uber spoke with the entrepreneurs to ask them about their thinking process as they made a decision about whose door to knock on.

“The man seemed to be a little more powerful,” said one woman.

“There was some logic but also some unconscious [thought] — like the CEO is probably a guy, which sort of makes me mad now,” another woman acknowledged.

One of the women who knocked on both doors said her decision was based on her own experience of being overlooked.

“I’ve gotten a lot of the assumptions that, ‘That’s probably the assistant of the person that owns that business,’ when I was going in to meet [people], and it’s like, ‘No, it’s me,’” she recalled.

Watch the full ad below.

Read the full story at Quartz.

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