Source: Economic Policy Institute
How discrimination, societal norms, and other forces affect women’s occupational choices—and their pay
What this report finds: Women are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men—despite the fact that over the last several decades millions more women have joined the workforce and made huge gains in their educational attainment. Too often it is assumed that this pay gap is not evidence of discrimination, but is instead a statistical artifact of failing to adjust for factors that could drive earnings differences between men and women. However, these factors—particularly occupational differences between women and men—are themselves often affected by gender bias. For example, by the time a woman earns her first dollar, her occupational choice is the culmination of years of education, guidance by mentors, expectations set by those who raised her, hiring practices of firms, and widespread norms and expectations about work–family balance held by employers, co-workers, and society. In other words, even though women disproportionately enter lower-paid, female-dominated occupations, this decision is shaped by discrimination, societal norms, and other forces beyond women’s control.
Why it matters, and how to fix it: The gender wage gap is real—and hurts women across the board by suppressing their earnings and making it harder to balance work and family. Serious attempts to understand the gender wage gap should not include shifting the blame to women for not earning more. Rather, these attempts should examine where our economy provides unequal opportunities for women at every point of their education, training, and career choices.
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”http://www.epi.org/publication/womens-work-and-the-gender-pay-gap-how-discrimination-societal-norms-and-other-forces-affect-womens-occupational-choices-and-their-pay/” title=”Economic Policy Institute: “Women’s work” and the gender pay gap” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Read the full report[/x_button]
Source: Harvard Business Review: July/August 2016
“Iris Bohnet thinks firms are wasting their money on diversity training. The problem is, most programs just don’t work. Rather than run more workshops or try to eradicate the biases that cause discrimination, she says, companies need to redesign their processes to prevent biased choices in the first place.
Bohnet directs the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School and cochairs its Behavioral Insights Group. Her new book, What Works,describes how simple changes—from eliminating the practice of sharing self-evaluations to rewarding office volunteerism—can reduce the biased behaviors that undermine organizational performance. In this edited interview with HBR senior editor Gardiner Morse, Bohnet describes how behavioral design can neutralize our biases and unleash untapped talent.”
“It’s very hard to eliminate our bias, but we can design organizations to make it easier for our biased minds to get things right.”
“Until we see more male kindergarten teachers or female engineers, we need behavioral designs to make it easier for our biased minds to get things right and break the link between our gut reactions and our actions.”
“So if managers see inflated ratings on a self-evaluation, they tend to unconsciously adjust their appraisal up a bit. Likewise, poorer self-appraisals, even if they’re inaccurate, skew managers’ ratings downward. This is a real problem, because there are clear gender (and also cross-cultural) differences in self-confidence.”
“Enlisting men is partly about helping them to see the benefits of equality. Fathers of daughters are some of the strongest proponents of gender equality, for obvious reasons, so they can be particularly powerful voices when it comes to bringing other men along. Research on male CEOs, politicians, and judges show that fathers of daughters care more about gender equality than men without children or with only sons.”
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”https://hbr.org/2016/07/designing-a-bias-free-organization” title=”Designing a Bias-Free Organization” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Read the full article[/x_button]
Source: Harvard Business Review: July/August 2016
“It’s hard to argue with the benefits of diversity, given the decades’ worth of studies showing that a diverse workforce measurably improves decision making, problem solving, creativity, innovation, and flexibility.Most of us also believe that hiring, development, and compensation decisions should come down to who deserves what. Although the two ideas don’t seem contradictory, they’re tough to reconcile in practice. Cognitive roadblocks keep getting in the way.”
“We believe we know good talent when we see it, yet we usually don’t – we’re terrible at evaluating people objectively.”
“If those in power think this world is basically fair and just – they won’t even recognize – much less worry about – systemic unfairness.”
“At each stage she consistently found that evaluators had little or nothing to say about the “rock stars” or the “rejects.” They deliberated mainly about candidates in the middle, which is where stereotypes about women and minorities came into play.”
“Women and minorities who actively push for diversity are punished by their organizations – they get lower performance ratings than those who don’t. Men who promote diversity don’t suffer the same penalty.”
“Millennials think of diversity and inclusion as valuing open participation by employees with different perspectives and personalities. In contrast, older workers think of its equitable representation and assimilation of people from different demographic groups.”
“Senior leaders need to recognize their organizations’ inequities – probably more than anyone else, since they have the power to make changes. But once they’ve climbed to their positions, they usually lose sight of what they had to overcome to get there.”
“It’s extraordinarily difficult to rewire the human brain, but we can “alter the environment in which decisions are made.” This approach – known as choice architecture – involves mitigating biases, not reversing them…the idea is to deliberately structure how ou present information and options: You don’t take away individuals’ right to decide or tell them what they should do. You just make it easier for them to reach more rational decisions.”
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”https://hbr.org/2016/07/we-just-cant-handle-diversity” title=”We Just Can’t Handle Diversity” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Read the full article[/x_button]
Source: Harvard Business Review: July/August 2016
“It shouldn’t be surprising that most diversity programs aren’t increasing diversity. Despite a few new bells and whistles, courtesy of big data, companies are basically doubling down on the same approaches they’ve used since the 1960s—which often make things worse, not better. Firms have long relied on diversity training to reduce bias on the job, hiring tests and performance ratings to limit it in recruitment and promotions, and grievance systems to give employees a way to challenge managers. Those tools are designed to preempt lawsuits by policing managers’ thoughts and actions. Yet laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out. As social scientists have found, people often rebel against rules to assert their autonomy. Try to coerce me to do X, Y, or Z, and I’ll do the opposite just to prove that I’m my own person.”
“Firms have long relied on diversity training to reduce bias on the job, hiring tests and performance ratings to limit it in recruitment and promotions, and grievance systems to give employees a way to challenge managers… Yet laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out.”
“It’s more effective to engage managers in solving the problem, increase their on-the-job contact with female and minority workers, and promote social accountability – the desire to look fair-minded. That’s why interventions such as targeted college recruitment, mentoring programs, self-managed teams, and task forces have boosted diversity in business.”
“The positive effects of diversity training rarely last beyond a day or two, and a number of studies suggest that it can activate bias or spark a backlash.”
“But studies show that raters tend to lowball women and minorities in performance reviews.”
“Things don’t get better when firms put in formal grievance systems; they get worse.”
“A number of companies have gotten consistently positive results with tactics that don’t focus on control. They apply three basic principles: engage managers in solving the problem, expose them to people from different groups, and encourage social accountability for change.”
“On average, companies that put in diversity task forces see 9% to 30% increases in representation of white women and of each minority group in management over the next five years.”
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”https://hbr.org/2016/07/we-just-cant-handle-diversity” title=”Why Diversity Programs Fail” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Read the full article[/x_button]
The emerging science of implicit bias is one of the most promising fields for animating the human change that makes social change possible. The social psychologist Mahzarin Banaji is one of its primary architects. She understands the mind as a “difference-seeking machine” that helps us order and navigate the overwhelming complexity of reality. But this gift also creates blind spots and biases, as we fill in what we don’t know with the limits of what we do know. This is science that takes our grappling with difference out of the realm of guilt, and into the realm of transformative good.
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”http://www.onbeing.org/program/mahzarin-banaji-the-mind-is-a-difference-seeking-machine/8719″ title=”OnBeing Podcast: Mahzarin Banaji — The Mind Is a Difference-Seeking Machine” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Listen to the podcast[/x_button]
“When Brooke Bleyl started job hunting after taking 10 years off to care for her children, her interviews did not go well.
“They even said they typically don’t hire people with such a gap,” said Ms. Bleyl, who lives outside Cleveland and has three children, ages 7, 10 and 12.
Ms. Bleyl, who worked as an employment recruiter before taking time off, said she tried to fill in gaps on her résumé, including online selling to earn extra money. “But when you see eBay on someone’s résumé, you know that’s a stay-at-home job,” she said, “and that you’re just selling stuff out of your basement.”
After receiving “rejection after rejection after rejection,” Ms. Bleyl said, “I was very defeated.” She eventually found a job as an account manager at a staffing service, but only with the help of a personal connection.
For women hoping to return to the workplace after caring for their children, the advice is often “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Many women who described themselves as stay-at-home mothers can attest to receiving denigrating nods and hasty rebuffs. Researchers have repeatedly found ample evidence of discrimination against mothers in the hiring process and the workplace.”
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/business/economy/a-child-care-gap-in-the-resume-whether-to-explain-or-not.html?smid=fb-share” title=”A Child Care Gap in the Résumé: Whether to Explain or Not” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Read the full article[/x_button]