Does diversity training work the way it’s supposed to?

Virtually all Fortune 500 companies offer diversity training to their employees, yet surprisingly few of them have measured its impact. To see how an intervention affects employee attitudes and behavior, a group of researchers designed their own training course to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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A study used sensors to show that men and women are treated differently at work

An analysis of men and women’s behavior in one company suggests that the difference in their promotion rates wasn’t due to their behavior but to how they were treated. Women had the same number of contacts as men, they spent as much time with senior leadership, they had indistinguishable work patterns, and they scored equally in performance evaluations - yet men were advancing and women were not.

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What the science actually says about gender gaps in the workplace

Many people have asserted that biological differences can explain the gender gap in math, engineering, and science. A review of research finds that the evidence on biological differences is too thin to explain the large gender gaps in leadership roles and STEM careers, while the evidence for gender bias driving career outcomes is much stronger.

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What most people get wrong about men and women

Why have women failed to achieve parity with men in the workplace? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because women prioritize their families over their careers, negotiate poorly, lack confidence, or are too risk-averse. Meta-analyses of published studies show that those ideas are myths - men and women actually have similar inclinations, attitudes, and skills. What does differ is the way they are treated on the job.

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The different words we use to describe male and female leaders

We know that men and women are often described differently in performance evaluations, and now we have more information on exactly what some of those differences are. Researchers analyzed a large-scale military dataset and found that negative words were much more frequently applied to women - even though men’s and women’s performances were objectively the same.

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We recorded VCs’ conversations and analyzed how differently they talk about female entrepreneurs

A study from Sweden, in which researchers were able to observe real-life conversations between government VCs, finds differences in the way men and women are discussed. While this stereotyping has clear implications for the women seeking funding, it also has a larger impact on society - gender bias presents the risk that money isn’t being invested in businesses that have the highest potential.

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Male and female entrepreneurs get asked different questions by VCs - and it affects how much funding they get

A study of Q&A interactions between VCs and entrepreneurs at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC found that VCs posed different types of questions to male versus female entrepreneurs. The difference in questioning explains much of why female entrepreneurs received five times less funding than their male counterparts.

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Objective performance metrics are not enough to overcome gender bias

Women often face a double standard in that they must outperform men to be evaluated similarly. Research on investment professionals finds that gender-based double standards persist even when evaluators have access to objective performance information and are motivated to evaluate candidates based on quality alone.

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Unconscious bias training doesn’t change people’s behaviour

Unconscious bias training is often given to managers in charge of hiring and promotion. It’s meant to reveal to them their hidden prejudices and biases and educate them about the impact that bias has on decision-making. But study after study has shown that while this type of training may raise awareness of prejudice, it doesn’t change people’s behaviour at all.

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