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Research: John and Jennifer

Here a little bit of research on women, creativity and gender inequality

©Maria Carmona

Researcher Moss-Racusin and her team created a fictitious resume of an applicant for a lab manager position. Two versions of the resume were produced that varied in only one detail: the name at the top. One applicant was Jennifer and the other, John. The research team asked various professionals to analyze and assess the CV. Each scientist was randomly assigned to review either Jennifer or John’s resume.

The results were surprising: despite having the exact same qualifications and experience as John, Jennifer was perceived as significantly less competent. They perceived the female candidate as less competent and, therefore, were less willing to mentor Jennifer or to hire her as a lab manager. Also and very importantly they recommended paying her a lower salary. Jennifer was offered, on average, $4,000 per year (13%) less than John.

What’s behind

We have a series of internalized schemas that make us engage in discrimination without actually willing to do so. These internalized schemas is what we commonly call stereotypes and they function as cognitive shortcuts in decision-making, especially when other information is scarce or the criteria are ambiguous.
Experiments like this show what we already were guessing: gender stereotypes are very present in the workplace and they lead to associate more quickly men than women with leadership and competency attributes. Nevertheless, what it concerns us the most is how these stereotypic expectations often condition how
women hold themselves to a higher standard and experience stereotype threat and suffer a higher anxiety of expecting negative judgments.

Correll&Wynn. (2018). Combating Gender Bias in Modern Workplaces. Handbook of the Sociology of Gender,
Skov, T. (2019). Unconscious Gender Bias in Academia: Scarcity of Empirical Evidence. Societies 10,31

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