Study Shows That Women Are Judged On More Dimensions In A Job Interview As Compared To Men. Even The Selection Criteria Is Biased Against Women

Gender bias in workplace is not a new thing. Perhaps, the oldest one to exist. Ever lost a project you really wanted and believed you could excel in to a male colleague? Or have you ever seen a guy junior to you get promoted for a field job even after you’ve been busting your ass at work for months? Or even seen your male counterparts at work get away with leniency which is never extended to you? Well, then I have some news for you, because you have experienced gender disparity at work first hand.

We can pretend like gender bias doesn’t exist in workplaces anymore since, you know, it’s the 21st century and women are seen as equal to men. However, studies and personal experience shows otherwise. Even before you get involved with the company, you could experience gender bias. How? A recent study found that in a job interview, women are judged on multiple criteria as opposed to just one for men. While men are supposed to just be competent enough to do the job in question, women are evaluated on social behavior and morality as well as competency.

If you are already fuming and cringing with disgust, hold on, because there’s more. It goes on to state that if a woman doesn’t fit any of these criterion, there’s a high chance of her losing the job. I am guessing probably even if she is  more competent than the male candidate, she’d be denied the opportunity just because she didn’t tick all those extra boxes.

The study titled “Men Should Be Competent, Women Should Have it All: Multiple Criteria in the Evaluation of Female Job Candidates” is published by Sex Roles and authored by Silvia Moscatelli, Michela Menegatti, Naomi Ellemers, Marco Giovanni Mariani, and Monica Rubini. The findings suggest, “Women must ‘have it all’ to have a chance to be selected and, if they do not, they might be targets of a perfection bias: Because women are judged on multiple dimensions, they might be required to excel in every domain against which they are evaluated.”

As far as I know, social behavior and morality are both important criteria and should be a basis for both men and women when they are being evaluated for a job. Last I checked, ethical standards and the ability to gel up with people at work are traits equally important for an employee, regardless of their gender. So, what is this obsession of hiring women who have these traits and are perfect overall, while men are simply expected to be skilled enough to do the job and exempted from everything else?

The study was done in four steps. While skill for the job was the major and most important criteria for both male and female candidates, women were mostly rejected if they seemed weak in traits like morality, friendliness and pleasantness. So basically, for a woman to be selected, the other things were non-negotiable while a man on the other hand could get a job on the basis of his competence, and competence alone. The study concludes, “Overall, competence played a key role in evaluation and employment decisions. However, the findings revealed that women are evaluated against more criteria than men are and that women’s weaknesses along a single dimension are likely to affect employment decisions.” Plus, even if the men and women fared equal in their performances, men were preferred over women. So basically, either way women lose.

This study makes you wonder, why are we analysing a woman candidate on the basis of multiple dimensions and leaving men out of it. Must women, even in their workplace, be “friendly” and “pleasant” more than they are skilled? What’s really up with these ancient gender stereotypes? Or is it because they feel the need to check our emotional capacity much more than guys because we are seen as the weaker gender?

The study rightly states that these finding will help recruiters be more sensible towards hiring the perfect candidates and come up with the right assessment process rather than being blinded by the gender norms. It says, “These findings can help evaluators and decision makers adopt assessment strategies that prevent more critical evaluations of women, such as establishing specific evaluation criteria before the disclosure of a candidate’s gender.”

Also Read: Iceland Has Been Consistently Leading The Gender Gap Index But Women’s Economic Empowerment Has Seen An Increase In Gender-Based Violence

It’s incredible how even in the year 2020, we are denying women job opportunities because they don’t seem friendly or moral enough to the recruiters, even if they are fit for the job. Well, I am sure this is not the case with every company and recruiter but it is with some, and that’s problematic enough. This battle of gender disparity is not an easy one to win and these evaluators and recruiters, with their backward and messed up mindset, are only fueling up the fire. If this continues, the gender gap in the workplace will only become wider and the one on the losing end (once again) would be capable women, just like they have been all this time.

I can’t believe I have to spell it out but maybe, it’s time we move past these gender roles and stereotypes and have an equal opportunity and evaluation process for all the candidates, regardless of their gender. After all, isn’t that the morally and ethically right thing to do?

Also Read: Women Are More Likely To Lose Their Jobs During This Pandemic And Will Probably Not Get Rehired Due To Gender Biases. It’s Going To Be Tough For Us

Anjali Agarwal

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