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Imagine there were a professional field where, due to aggregate differences in aptitude and interest across genders, 35% of the good job candidates are women, and that you would expect an industry environment that truly treated men and women equally to produce an employee base in this field that is 35% female.
In the real world, employment in this field is likely to end up being a lot less than 35% female. Consider the following reasons:
Assumption - Job - Candidates - Men - Hiring
A widespread assumption that "most" of the good job candidates will be men may lead to stereotyping in the hiring process, with hiring managers more likely to assume that men are good candidates and overlook qualified women.
Women may self-select out of the field because they internalize the stereotype that the field is "for men"; the stereotype may also make men overconfident in their fitness for the field and more inclined to pursue employment in it.
Majority - Field - Research - Managers - Qualitative
A male majority in the field is likely to be excessively self-reinforcing, as research shows hiring managers tend to use the qualitative and "culture fit" aspects of hiring to hire candidates who resemble themselves, and most of the hiring managers in a male-dominated field will be men.
As seen in a number of high-profile cases in Silicon Valley, male-dominated management structures may foster cultures of pervasive workplace sexism and harassment that drive women out of the field.
Problem - Google - Memo - Employee - Population
And this is a key problem with the now-notorious Google memo written by a now-former employee: If it is true that aggregate population differences mean that a majority of the suitable candidates in a field are men, that can make it more important for firms in the field to undertake aggressive diversity efforts to recruit and retain women. Otherwise, firms may end up with a employee base of which only a small minority is women, even when...
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