High Stakes Gender Bias – Part 1

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Researchers Ioana Latu, Marianne Mast and Tracie Stewart conducted and experiment to see if implicit and explicit gender stereotypes held by a male interviewer impacted a female applicant’s performance. In addition, they sought to uncover the impact of the applicant’s stereotypes on their performance in a job interview.

Prior research in the early 90s showed that female managers tended to be assigned more negative traits compared to men while successful managers were perceived as possessing traits associated with the male paradigm. More recent research by Duehr & Bono in 2006 suggest that Western culture is trending towards expressing more “equitable views of gender roles.”

Yet personal bias can exist below the surface even though we make explicitly disavow them. Explicit gender stereotypes define what we say out loud, while implicit gender stereotypes define the ideas we have that can only be exposed when we make quick decisions without deep reflection. The best way to uncover bias and measure it’s impact is to measure implicit gender bias.

There is ample research that shows how implicit stereotypes predict the decisions and discriminatory behavior of individuals with negative bias towards a particular group. For example,  Paluck & Spencer-Rodgers’ article called “The Masculinity of Money: Automatic Stereotypes Predict Gender Differences in Estimated Salaries“.

Current researcher suggest that in high stakes mixed-gender interactions such as a job interview, organizations should take into account implicit and explicit gender stereotypes.

In the next post, we will look at steps to mitigate the effects of gender bias in the context of a job interview.