Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker
andrewducker

The unconscious sexual bias

Instead of focusing on programs designed to specifically benefit any one group, I think our focus should be on making our companies as meritocratic as possible. I want to start with the easiest suggestion I can think of, one that I’ve personally used with great success. I first tried it as an experiment after reading in Blink that after symphony orchestras instituted blind auditions (where conductors can’t see who is actually playing), gender equality soon followed. In the US, women’s participation went from about 5% to 50% over the course of two decades. What’s notable about this change is that it has nothing to do with gender per se, and probably also eliminated many other forms of unconscious bias.

Now, whenever I screen resumes, I ask the recruiter to black out any demographic information from the resume itself: name, age, gender, country of origin. The first time I did this experiment, I felt a strange feeling of vertigo while reading the resume. “Who is this guy?” I had a hard time forming a visual image, which made it harder to try and compare each candidate to the successful people I’d worked with in the past. It was an uncomfortable feeling, which instantly revealed just how much I’d been relying on surface qualities when screening resumes before – even when I thought I was being 100% meritocratic. And, much to my surprise (and embarrassment), the kinds of people I started phone-screening changed immediately.
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