Although countless studies have shown gender bias and sexism in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, it seems that some men aren't getting the message.
In fact, according to a new study, even when presented with evidence of gender bias, many men deny that it occurs outright, while others blame women for the problem or make sexist remarks.
This study, published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly, looked at comment threads on three specific articles based on the subject. And the results weren't pretty: even though the articles cited studies pointing out gender bias, many male commenters argued otherwise.
Let's start with the research pointing out gender bias in STEM industries. In 2012, Yale University conducted a study about the hiring process in science. Those researchers sent fake job applications for lab manager positions to many of the top research institutions in the U.S. All applications were identical, except for the first names attached to them: half were for job candidates named John and the other for candidates named Jennifer.
The researchers then asked employers to rate the resumes based on how likely they were to hire each potential employee. Guess what happened? Employers consistently rated female job candidates less likely to get the job than their male counterparts. Perhaps what's even more disturbing about these results is that it didn't matter if the person doing the hiring was male or female.
But the gender bias didn't stop there. When asked about salaries for each job candidate, employers consistently offered lower salaries to women, by nearly $4,000 on average per year.
However, this new study shows that even with such overwhelming evidence, some men don't like thinking that there is a problem. After researchers look at over 800 comments on articles, they found that 10 percent of the comments denied sexism (68 percent of those commenters were men). They also discovered that around 67 percent of comments agreed that gender bias exists, but that only 29 percent of those commenters were male.
Then there were those commenters who thought gender bias existed for valid reasons: nearly 60 percent blamed biology, while over 10 percent blamed women themselves for the bias. Over 7 percent stated that sexism exists, but that it's against men (65 percent of those commenters were male).
Sadly, though, only .5 percent of commenters admitted that the articles in question changed their mind. And most disturbing, perhaps is that over 75 percent of all comments contained negative statements about women.
So although there is evidence that sexism and gender bias exist in the scientific and technology communities, it seems that many men still aren't convinced (or rather, don't want convincing).
This research team remains hopeful, though.
"We hope that our beginning look at naturalistic reactions to evidence of gender bias will spark more controlled experimental investigations, shedding greater light on prejudice-reduction pathways and informing the development of interventions designed to reduce bias and boost diversity in STEM fields," the researchers write in their report.
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