A Study Used Sensors to Show That Men and Women Are Treated Differently at Work
(Link to the article about the study is farther below)
I’m one of the few right wingers who concedes that sexism does exist in the United States – even though, arguably, for the most part, women in the States do not generally suffer from sexism as severely as women in other nations.
But sexism both within and outside of the United States is very real. And there is gender bias.
I, a conservative woman, have personally been…
- cat-called by men when out in public (which turned me off, and part of me thought in the back of my mind, “is this guy going to stop at the sexual comments, which are bad enough, but is he going to drag me back to the nearest alley and rape me too?”),
- I’ve had men talk over me or interrupt me in business meetings,
- or condescendingly “man-splain” things to me regarding topics I was already knowledgeable of,
- have been subjected to male co-workers on former jobs make inappropriate sexual jokes about women in front of me,
- and so on.
– this sort of prejudice against women and such gendered slights do in fact exist, but a lot of my fellow conservatives, even some conservative women – want to deny it happens.
Or else, what I typically see of my fellow conservatives on blogs, news sites, television news shows, or on Twitter, is that they want to water down sexism – its prevalence or severity – and portray any woman who critiques such sexism publicly as being nothing more than whiny, cry-baby, sensitive, politically correct flowers, because they think to admit such sexism, or any sexism at all, exists (even within the United States), is to give an inch to the left wing, secular, feminists.
When it does no such thing. Admitting to reality – that sexism exists, even in America – is not to cave in to liberal, secular feminists. It’s being intellectually honest.
I find that my fellow conservatives, or plain old misogynists, tend to argue over articles such as this one, and claim they are flawed, because such conservatives (or sexists) do not want to admit the findings of such studies are true – it’s far easier to combat left wing, secular feminists by acting as though the charges of sexism are over-played or the product of over- active imaginations or based on nothing more than irrationality or emotions.
by Stephen Turban, Laura Freeman, Ben Waber
…We went in with a few hypotheses about why fewer women ended up in senior positions than men: Perhaps women had fewer mentors, less face time with managers, or weren’t as proactive as men in talking to senior leadership.
But as we analyzed our data, we found almost no perceptible differences in the behavior of men and women.
…And in performance evaluations men and women received statistically identical scores. This held true for women at each level of seniority. Yet women weren’t advancing and men were.
The hypothesis that women lacked access to seniority, in particular, had little support.
If the Behaviors Are the Same, What Explains the Differences in Outcomes?
Our analysis suggests that the difference in promotion rates between men and women in this company was due not to their behavior but to how they were treated.
This indicates that arguments about changing women’s behavior — to “lean-in,” for example — might miss the bigger picture: Gender inequality is due to bias, not differences in behavior.
Bias, as we define it, occurs when two groups of people act identically but are treated differently. Our data implies that gender differences may lie not in how women act but in how people perceive their actions.
For example, consider female mentorship programs that try to connect high-potential women with management. If women talk to leadership at similar rates as men, then the problem isn’t lack of access but how those conversations are viewed.
Bias is not only about how behavior is perceived in the office, but also includes out-of-office expectations. At this company, women tend to leave the workforce in the middle of their seniority, after having been at the company for four to 10 years.
This timing presents another possible hypothesis: Perhaps women decide to leave the workplace for other reasons, such as wanting to raise a family. Our data can’t determine whether this is true or not, but we don’t think this changes the argument for reducing bias.
If men and women are equal stakeholders in a family, they should presumably be leaving the workforce at the same rate. But this isn’t happening.
According to McKinsey and LeanIn.org’s 2017 gender report, women with a partner are 5.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to do all or most of the housework. However, women are not advancing, while men are.
What Companies Can Do About It
While programs aimed at strengthening women’s leadership skills are valuable, companies also need to focus on the more fundamental — and more difficult — problem of reducing bias.
This means trying bias-reduction programs, but also developing policies that explicitly level the playing field. One way to do so is to make promotions and hiring more equal.
Read the rest of the article here.