Gender Bias Learning Project

A zany brainy look at a serious subject

A project of the Center for WorkLife Law UC Hastings College of the Law

Gender Bias: The Games People Play

Gender bias typically stems not from malevolence, but from the perceived mismatch between the “typical woman” and the requirements of jobs that historically were held by men such as professor, scientist, and investment banker. In fact, many of the historically male dominated jobs are still held predominantly by men. For example, tenure-track jobs at research institutions still are 70-80% male.

Gender bias takes many forms, some obvious and others subtle. Here are some common examples of more subtle forms of bias:

  • Objective rules applied rigidly to women but leniently to men
  • The persistent assumption that a mother is home with her children when she is at a committee meeting, presenting at a conference, or home writing her book
  • An atmosphere where women are accepted only if they cater to the comfort levels of men who expect them to play traditionally feminine roles

Department chairs find themselves unable to compete for the best candidates when unwitting remarks by a committee member signal a chilly climate to one candidate after another.

Gender bias also impedes departments’ ability to retain top talent, which, in turn, costs money: costs add up fast when the average start-up package for a scientist ranges from $300,000 to $500,000.

 

Why You Should Understand Gender Bias

Watch gender bias experts discuss the importance of recognizing and understanding gender bias.


Why Colleges and Universities Need to Care About Gender Bias

Watch experts discuss the importance of addressing gender bias on the institutional level.

Please visit the Center for WorkLife Law website to learn more about the Economics of Retaining Talented Women Faculty as a Business Necessity in the Current Economic Environment.

Biographical Sketches of Interviewed Gender Bias Experts

Bibliography on Cognitive Bias and Gender Stereotypes