Research ArticlePSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE

In some professions, women have become well represented, yet gender bias persists—Perpetuated by those who think it is not happening

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Science Advances  26 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 26, eaba7814
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba7814

Abstract

In efforts to promote equality and combat gender bias, traditionally male-occupied professions are investing resources into hiring more women. Looking forward, if women do become well represented in a profession, does this mean equality has been achieved? Are issues of bias resolved? Two studies including a randomized double-blind experiment demonstrate that biases persist even when women become well represented (evinced in veterinary medicine). Evidence included managers evaluating an employee randomly assigned a male (versus female) name as more competent and advising a $3475.00 higher salary, equating to an 8% pay gap. Importantly, those who thought bias was not happening in their field were the key drivers of it—a “high risk” group (including men and women) that, as shown, can be readily identified/assessed. Thus, as other professions make gains in women’s representation, it is vital to recognize that discrimination can persist—perpetuated by those who think it is not happening.

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