TEDxPasadenaWomen: Resources and Research for “How I Learned to Love Unconscious Bias”

kristin maschka discussing unconscious bias research at tedxpasadenawomen

Women’s Momentum Has Stalled
The Wage Gap: A History of Pay Inequity and the Equal Pay Act http://www.infoplease.com/spot/equalpayact1.html#ixzz3ZPLYa9iP
Until the early 1960s, newspapers published separate job listings for men and women. Jobs were categorized according to sex, with the higher level jobs listed almost exclusively under “Help Wanted—Male.” In some cases the ads ran identical jobs under male and female listings—but with separate pay scales. Separate, of course, meant unequal: between 1950 and 1960, women with full time jobs earned on average between 59–64 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned in the same job.

It wasn’t until the passage of the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963 (effective June 11, 1964) that it became illegal to pay women lower rates for the same job strictly on the basis of their sex

“The gender wage gap was wider in 2011 than in 2010 and was actually at the same level as in 2009. Back in the 1980s, the gap narrowed by more than 10 percentage points. But it’s only closed by about one percentage point since 2001.”
“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. Gender desegregation of college majors and occupations slowed. And although single mothers continued to increase their hours of paid labor, there was a significant jump in the percentage of married women, especially married women with infants, who left the labor force. By 2004, a smaller percentage of married women with children under 3 were in the labor force than in 1993.”

Catalyst research findings:

  • The number of women in the boardroom has stagnated, holding around 15 to 16 percent for the past several years.
  • The number of executive officers has not improved appreciably, rising from 13 percent to just 14 percent over the past couple of years.
  • In 2010, women held 14.4 percent of executive officer positionsat Fortune 500 companies and 7.6 percent of top earner positions.

Unconscious Bias in Scientists
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.

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.

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: Hiring Processes A great article you can hand to your Human Resources team.
Interventions That Affect Gender Bias in Hiring: A Systematic Review
Carol Isaac, PhD, PT, Barbara Lee, PhD, and Molly Carnes, MD, MS

Unconscious Bias Impacts All of Us
Data on other social and economic arenas of life show the same association between dark skin and disadvantage. Consider criminal justice: among 66,927 male felons incarcerated for their first offense in Georgia from 1995 through 2002, the dark-skinned received longer prison sentences. Whites’ sentences averaged 2,689 days, and Blacks’ were longer by 378 days.http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=253712

There is evidence that African Americans are treated worse than similarly situated Whites in sentencing. For example, federal Black defendants were sentenced to 12 percent longer sentences under the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.
See David B. Mustard, Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence From the U.S. Federal Courts, 44 J.L. & ECON. 285, 300 (2001) (examining federal judge sentencing under the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984

Judges are also more likely to sentence people of color than whites to prison and jail and to impose longer sentences, even after accounting for differences in crime severity, criminal history, and educational level.
See Steffensmeier, D. & Demuth, S. (2000). Ethnicity and Sentencing Outcomes in U.S. Federal Courts: Who is Punished More Harshly? American Sociological Review, 65(5), 705–729; Steffensmeier, D. & Demuth, S. (2001). Ethnicity and Judges’ Sentencing Decisions: Hispanic-Black-White Comparisons. Criminology, 39(1), 145–178 http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/22_02/math222.shtml

(The anecdote in the talk was inspired by a story my friend Scott told me about something that happened to him. But here’s an intro to the research on bias about Asian Americans.)
The Myth of the Model Minority asserts that, due to their adherence to traditional, Asian cultural values, Asian-American students are supposed to be devoted, obedient to authority, respectful of teachers, smart, good at math and science, diligent, hard workers, cooperative, well-behaved, docile, college-bound, quiet, and opportunistic. http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/01/dads-caring-for-their-kids-its-parenting-not-babysitting/267443/

(So many fathers I know have had this happen to them, but here is some of the research on it.)
When Kevin Kruse is spotted out with his children, people often ask if he is babysitting. Despite the frequency of the inquiry, it still makes the Princeton history professor bristle.
“No, ‘babysitting’ is what you do with other people’s kids,” Kruse said. “These are my own kids, so it’s called ‘parenting.'”

What they found, however, was that men and women, particularly in terms of parenting, were judged overall to be subjectively different.
Identical words can be used to describe a mother and a father, but those words do not retain a consistent definition: They are translated to reflect parenting stereotypes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *