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Women’s Progress Stalled

The Wage Gap: A History of Pay Inequity and the Equal Pay Act

“Women’s labor-force participation in the United States also leveled off in the second half of the 1990s, in contrast to its continued increase in most other countries. …. By 2004, a smaller percentage of married women with children under 3 were in the labor force than in 1993.” summary of Catalyst research findings.

Women in Higher Education

“Key findings illustrated that women in academia make up more than half​ of all college students, but only slightly more than a quarter of all full professors and less than 15% of the presidents at doctoral degree granting intuitions.”

According to the Colorado Women’s College 2013 Benchmarking Women’s Leadership in the United States report, the average percentage of women holding leadership positions in higher education is a startlingly low 24.53%.

Unconscious Bias in Scientists provides a summary of the study.

“In the study, Yale University researchers asked scientists at six universities to review identical CVs purporting to belong to senior undergraduate students that had been randomly assigned male or female names.

The researchers found that in considering the applicants for a laboratory manager position, staff consistently judged male candidates to be more competent and deserving of an extra $4,000 (£2,475) pay on average. They were also more willing to provide male applicants with mentoring and were more likely to hire them.

Women in the study were just as likely as men to make these judgements, and scientists responded no better than control groups.”

The full study is “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students”Science with male/Liberal arts with female

Harvard’s Implicit Association Test reveals several implicit associations or unconscious biases including gender-science, race, weight, age, sexuality, gener-career.

You can take any one of the Implicit Association Tests online in just 15 to 20 min.

Asian American = Foreign

“Just like me” Bias

Also called in-group favoritism.

Objective and Fair/Meritocracy More Prone to Unconscious Bias

[R]esearch demonstrates that people who value their objectivity and fairness are paradoxically particularly likely to fall prey to biases, in part because they are not on guard against subtle bias.”

Moral credentials and the expression of prejudice. Monin B, Miller DT (2001)


“I think it, therefore it’s true”: Effects of self-perceived objectivity on hiring discrimination. Uhlmann EL, Cohen GL (2007)


The Paradox of Meritocracy in Organizations. Castilla E, Benard S.

Language in Performance Reviews

Benefits of Diversity to Teams and Organizations

There are lots of sources for these benefits. This provides a good summary.

Anger from Women Judged More Harshly

Three studies examined the relationships among anger, gender, and status conferral. As in prior research, men who expressed anger in a professional context were conferred higher status than men who expressed sadness. However, both male and female evaluators conferred lower status on angry female professionals than on angry male professionals.


Warmth and Competence As Universal Dimensions of Social Perception: The Stereotype Content Model and the BIAS Map (p.80 Housewives rated low competence, high warmth)

“When Professionals Become Mothers, Warmth Doesn’t Cut the Ice.” by Amy Cuddy

[1] “Not only are [working mothers] viewed as less competent and less worthy of training than their childless female counterparts, they are also viewed as less competent than they were before they had children. Merely adding a child caused people to view the woman as lower on traits such as capable and skillful, and decreased people’s interest in training, hiring, and promoting her.”

Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty? Shelley J. Correll, Stephen Benard, In Paik (Resume study)

Jamal Jones and Greg Baker

“White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. Callbacks are also more responsive to resume quality for White names than for African-American ones.”

Tall People Earn More

“When it comes to height, every inch counts–in fact, in the workplace, each inch above average may be worth $789 more per year, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 89, No. 3).”

Noticing Out Loud is Good

“However, confronting sexism head-on may not incur the hostile backlash that you might expect. In a recent study, researchers from Loyola University Chicago found that men who were called out on their use of sexist language responded with greater sensitivity to gender issues and treated the women who confronted them better than those who were not called out did. Research also indicates that directly challenging instances of sexism improves women’s feelings of competence and self-esteem. And substantial scholarship has suggested that speaking up against any sort of bias reduces expressions of that bias in the future.

When Women Negotiate, They are Penalized

“A 2006 study Babcock did with Hannah Riley Bowles and Lei Lai helped explain why women are less likely to negotiate their starting salaries (referred to as the Bowles study). When they do, both men and women are less likely to want to work with or hire them. The effect size is large. Women who negotiated faced a penalty 5.5 times that faced by men.”

Change the What: Negotiation

“…researchers Andreas Leibbrandt and John A. List posted two versions of announcements for administrative assistant jobs in stereotypically masculine businesses—NASCAR, football, and basketball. One version said nothing about salary; the other said “salary negotiable.” Leibbrandt and List wanted to investigate the well-documented phenomenon that women are less likely to negotiate their salaries than men, which contributes to the pay gap between the sexes. Could a simple two-word phrase interrupt that pattern?

It could. In fact, not only did the “salary negotiable” language close the negotiation gap between men and women, it closed the pay gap between the male and female hires by 45%.

Change the What: Anonymous Applications/Blind resumes

Change the What: Scan job ads for gender and jargon

Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2011, Vol 101(1), p109-28).  Cliché’s and jargon particular turnoff for non-white and women.

Webpage That Scans a Pasted Job Description


Change the What: Hiring Processes

This article summarizes several interventions proven to reduce gender bias, including focusing on proportion in the pool, committing to criteria and credentials in advance, and using structured interviews.

Interventions That Affect Gender Bias in Hiring: A Systematic Review Carol Isaac, PhD, PT, Barbara Lee, PhD, and Molly Carnes, MD, MS


My TEDx talk is a great way to start a conversation about unconscious bias.

Hacking Tech’s Diversity Problem by Joan Williams in Harvard Business Review. Great article for sharing and discussing. Williams is an incredible thought leader and heads the WorkLife Law Center at Hastings Law School

“Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers” Harvard Business Review Another great article to share and discuss.

Paradigm is a company that helps organizations reduce unconscious bias in talent management. Their white paper is a well-done overview of the topic.




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