Committees With Implicit Biases Promote Fewer Women When They Do Not Believe Gender Bias Exists
Implicit bias is an important topic in equal opportunities, with some even contesting that it doesn’t exist. The recent study “Committees with implicit biases promote fewer women when they do not believe gender bias exists” by Isabelle Régner et al. examines the effect of implicit and explicit biases on hiring decisions in academia, with powerful results.
The study looks at 39 committees at CRNS in France, who were tasked with deciding which researchers will be selected for prestigious high-level academic positions. The authors found that committees whose members had implicit gender biases promoted fewer women if they did not believe that structural barriers impede the careers of female scientists. On the other hand, committees with implicit biases who did acknowledge the effect of structural barriers on women’s careers promoted women and men equitably. This indicates that, regardless of the presence of implicit biases, the simple awareness that such biases exist and harm the careers of women is enough to reduce the disadvantages for female scientists. The authors thus emphasise the need to educate important decision-making committees and governing bodies about the existence and harmful effects of biases.
To learn more, see the study by Régner, et al. in full.