This academic year coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first two female graduates from INSEAD’s MBA Programme.  INSEAD is planning a yearlong series of events around IW50 (INSEAD Women 50) that will highlight women in business, INSEAD’s gender diversity, research, and showcase outstanding women alumni and students.

I have been thinking a lot about women in the workforce in light of this initiative and from the recent news of Peggy Whitson breaking the record for longest time in space by a U.S. astronaut and Katherine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, running it again 50 years later.  And, reading this article in the Atlantic about a BCG report about why women seem more reticent to compete for top jobs (note:  women are ambitious, but also rational and respond to the environments they are in).

That thinking reminded me of an interview with Dustin Hoffman about his role of Dorothy Michaels in the movie, Tootsie.  The movie, which premiered in 1982, received 10 Oscar nominations and was the second-highest grossing film of 1982 (first place was for ET).  In Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman plays an actor unable to get work, until he dresses as a woman and secures an acting job in a female role on a soap opera.

Watch this video of Dustin Hoffman discussing what it was like to play Dorothy Michaels and the epiphany he had during the filming:  “. . .too many women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.”

Are your first impressions helping or hurting your relationships with students, recruiters, colleagues?  Are you able to empathize with others?  Have you been brainwashed and just not aware?