How May Implicit Attitudes Influence the Hiring Process for Women and Underrepresented Minorities?
U.S. Study Shows Unconscious Gender Bias in Academic Science. Jeffrey Mervis. Science 28 September 2012, Vol. 337, 6102, p. 1592. DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6102.1592 http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6102/1592.full?sid=c07752be-f858-42c2-8ae6-08d3002c014c
Evaluation of Identical Vitae: Gender
1. Faculty Positions
Steinpreis, R.E., Anders, K.A., & Ritzkie, D. (1999). The impact of gender on the review of the curricula vitae of job applicants and tenure candidates: A national empirical study. Sex Roles, 41(7/8), 509-528.
The purpose of this study was to determine some of the factors that influence outside reviewers and search committee members when they are reviewing curricula vitae, particularly with respect to the gender of the name on the vitae. The participants in this study were 238 male and female academic psychologists who listed a university address in the 1997 Directory of the American Psychological Association. They were each sent one of four versions of a curriculum vitae (e.g., female job applicant, male job applicant, female tenure candidate, and male tenure candidate), along with a questionnaire and a self-addressed stamped envelope. All the curricula vitae actually came from a real-life scientist at two different stages in her career, but the names were changed to traditional male and female names. Although an exclusively between-groups design was used to avoid sparking gender conscious responding, the results indicate that the participants were clearly able to distinguish between the qualifications of the job applicants versus the tenure candidates, as evidenced by suggesting higher starting salaries, increased likelihood of offering the tenure candidates a job, granting them tenure, and greater respect for their teaching, research, and service records. Both men and women were more likely to vote to hire a male job applicant than a female job applicant with an identical record. Similarly, both sexes reported that the male job applicant had done adequate teaching, research, and service experience compared to the female job applicant with an identical record. In contrast, when men and women examined the highly competitive curriculum vitae of the real-life scientist who had gotten early tenure, they were equally likely to tenure the male and female tenure candidates and there was no difference in their ratings of their teaching, research, and service experience. There was no significant main effect for the quality of the institution or professional rank on selectivity in hiring and tenuring decisions. The results of this study indicate a gender bias for both men and women in preference for male job applicants.
2. Lab Manager Positions
Moss-Racusin, C.A., Dovidio, J.F., Brescoli, V.L., Graham, M.J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. In S. Tilghman (Ed.) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (41) 16474-16479.
A team at Yale University asked 127 professors at six U.S. research universities to judge the merits of a recent college graduate who was hoping to become a lab manager before heading to graduate school. The participants were sent identical resumes, except that half were ostensibly from a female candidate and the other half from a male applicant. The participants—tenured or tenure-track faculty members in the departments of biology, chemistry, and physics—were significantly more likely to hire the man, pay him a higher salary, and see him as more worthy of mentoring. That bias was equally strong among female and male scientists, and did not vary by age, race, or discipline.
Evaluation of Identical Vitae: Race
Bertrand, M., & Mullainathan, S. (2004). Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination. The American Economic Review, 94 (4), 991-1013.
The researchers studied race in the labor market by sending fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate perceived race, resumes were randomly assigned African-American- or White-sounding names. White names received 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. Callbacks were also more responsive to resume quality for White names than for African American ones. The racial gap was uniform across occupation, industry, and employer size. The authors also found little evidence that employers were inferring social class from the names. Differential treatment by race still appears to still be prominent in the U.S. labor market.
Differences in Letters of Recommendation: Gender
Trix, F., & Psenka, C. (2003). Exploring the color of glass: Letters of recommendation for female and male medical faculty. Discourse & Society, 14(2), 191-220. doi: 10.1177/0957926503014002277
This study examined over 300 letters of recommendation for medical faculty at a large American medical school in the mid-1990s, using methods from corpus and discourse analysis, with the theoretical perspective of gender schema from cognitive psychology. Letters written for female applicants were found to differ systematically from those written for male applicants in the extremes of length, in the percentages lacking in basic features, in the percentages with doubt raisers (an extended category of negative language, often associated with apparent commendation), and in frequency of mention of status terms. Further, the most common semantically grouped possessive phrases referring to female and male applicants (`her teaching,' `his research') reinforce gender schema that tend to portray women as teachers and students, and men as researchers and professionals.