Sign up FAST! Login

Hacking Tech’s Diversity Problem

Stashed in: Women, Hiring, Management, HBR, XX, Tech

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Excellent, research based article on systemic gender bias in technology -- with strategic advice on overcoming it.

I found this story from Google telling:

The company’s analytics showed that women were being promoted less often than men because, to be promoted at Google, you needed to nominate yourself. Fewer women did so, presumably because modesty is so associated with femininity that women who advocated for themselves often encountered pushback, just as with negotiation. Google’s response was to include female leaders at workshops on when and how to put yourself forward. This signaled to women that they were expected to self-promote. So they did, and the gender difference among Googlers nominating themselves all but disappeared.

Good advice on hiring:

Develop job-advertisement guidelines that advise steering clear of masculine-gendered words like “competitive,” “assertive,” and “ambitious.” Track whether those guidelines are followed. To the extent possible, give hiring managers blinded résumés, so they can’t tell whether the applicant is a man or a woman. Track whether this practice changes hiring numbers. Agree in advance on standard interview questions, watch for subtle biases, and adjust the list of questions as you learn which ones work well for all candidates. A seemingly harmless question like “Tell me about a personal or professional accomplishment that best shows your strengths” can be problematic. Since women are wary of bragging (the tightrope problem), they’ll often answer this question by telling you how proud they are of their kids (women are allowed to brag about their children); men will give a work-related answer and advance their cause more effectively.

You May Also Like: