Combating Gender Bias in Modern Workplaces
Widely shared cultural beliefs about gender, as contained in stereotypes, continue to disadvantage women in workplace settings. Stereotypes include beliefs that women are less competent than men in many domains, which lead women to be held to higher performance standards, to face increased scrutiny and shifting criteria when being evaluated, to encounter likeability and motherhood penalties, and to lack access to powerful networks. As a result, women experience disadvantages at work, including biases in hiring, evaluation, and promotion decisions. Such biases often operate outside conscious awareness, in what some scholars term “implicit bias,” “unconscious bias,” or “second-generation bias” (Ibarra et al. in Harvard Bus Rev, 91:60–66, 2013). Organizations have engaged in bias-mitigation efforts, such as employee resource groups, unconscious bias training, and broad-scale diversity initiatives. However, such approaches to diversity can either fail or even backfire, exacerbating inequality. While some emerging research offers solutions for positive change, more research is needed to understand how organizations can decrease the effects of gender bias and achieve lasting equality in workplaces.
KeywordsBias Stereotypes Work and occupations Organizations
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