Unconscious biases are learned stereotypes that, according to the official definition, are automatic, unintended, ingrained, universal and able to influence behaviour. Most of us have them and I most certainly do. One of the training and development initiatives we completed as part of our CERES group (women in agri business leadership network) dealt with unconscious bias. Doing the associated tests forced me to become aware of my own biases, which helped me combat them – a beneficial exercise.

Last weekend, I was a judge at the Queen of the Land Festival in Tullamore. Prior to starting this job, as I mentioned in my column before, I was unfamiliar with the many competitions run by Macra, such as Miss Blue Jeans, Miss Macra or Queen of the Land, as I had not been an active member myself. Admittedly I had some unconscious bias in this regard. This came from having very little understanding of what the competitions were about or what they give to the participants.