Columbia Business School experiments show that hiring managers chose men twice as often for careers in science, technology, engineering and math
With everyone from the federal government to corporate America working to encourage more women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, you would think the doors would be wide open to women of all backgrounds. A new study from Columbia Business School shows that this could not be further from the truth and that gender bias among hiring managers in STEM fields is extraordinarily prevalent.
“How Stereotypes Impair Women’s Careers in Science,” written by Ernesto Reuben, assistant professor of management at Columbia Business School, and recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals the underlying biases of hiring managers, and also demonstrates the cost of discrimination.
“Studies that seek to answer why there are more men than women in STEM fields typically focus on women’s interests and choices,” said Professor Reuben. “This may be important, but our experiments show that another culprit of this phenomenon is that hiring managers possess an extraordinary level of gender bias when making decisions and filling positions, often times choosing the less qualified male over a superiorly qualified female.”
In an experiment in which participants were hired to perform a mathematical task, both male and female managers were twice as likely to hire a man than a woman — even when the managers had no information beyond a candidate’s appearance and, therefore, gender.
The Latest on: STEM gender bias
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