Gender Bias Still Persists in Industries Where Women Make Up Significant Majority of Workers

Dr. Stephenson

A new study finds that gender bias is still prevalent in industries and occupations where women are a majority of the workforce.

The lead author of the study is Amber L. Stephenson, an associate professor of management at the Reh School of Business at Clarkson University in Schenectady, New York. Co-authors are Amy Diehl, chief information officer at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and Leanne M. Dzubinski, interim dean of the Cook School of Intercultural Studies and an associate professor of intercultural education and studies at Biola University in La Mirada, California.

The study examined the experiences of women in four industries in which women are a majority of all workers: law, higher education, faith-based nonprofits, and health care. Researchers surveyed more than 1,600 women leaders in these fields to obtain their experiences on 15 different types of gender bias.

Dr. Diehl

The results showed that women continue to face bias in all four fields. They found that in addition to sexual harassment, women reported often being interrupted by men while speaking, a lack of acknowledgment for their contributions, and the presence of a “boy’s club” mentality where most of the important decisions are still be made by men.

The researchers found women were the least likely to face bias in higher education and the most likely to experience bias in law. Participants in higher education experienced fewer aspects of gender bias than the other three industries related to male culture, exclusion, self-limited aspirations, lack of sponsorship, and lack of acknowledgment.

Dr. Dzubinski

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, the authors say “clearly, having balanced or even greater numbers of women in an organization is not, by itself, changing women’s experiences of bias. Bias is built into the system and continues to operate even when more women than men are present.”

The full study, “A Cross-Industry Comparison of How Women Leaders Experience Gender Bias,” was published on the website of the journal Personel Review. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply