The Way To Fix Bias In Economics Is To Recruit More Women: Study
Economics is known to be lagging behind the other sciences when hiring of females is concerned. “Economics has always been known to be surrounded by unwelcoming or stereotypical culture towards females, and has evolved over time with mostly, the misogynistic views. When I started, I could see that most of the females have been struggling to build their own identity on the basis of their own ideas,” says Neena Verma, HR at a consultancy company. But the question arises, does the word ‘gender’ really hold importance in a field like Economics?
A recent study conducted by Mohsen Javdani, from University Of British Columbia, says that women are less likely to differentiate between people, thereby increasing the effectiveness of workspace and its programs. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to differentiate between people they know about and the unknowns. Therefore, decrease in gender gap in economics might result in decrease in bias and increase in effectiveness of the workspace.
Key takeaways of the study:
- Economists from 19 countries were selected to identify biases among economists.
- They were asked to analyze statements from economists on different topics, including the study’s main subject, i.e., the gender bias problem
- In the course of telling them the statement and author, the author of the statements were changed intentionally without the economist’s knowledge.
- Some were told that the statement was from a famous and reputed economist, whereas others were told that the statement was by a person who is considered to be ideologically different.
- A strong ideological bias was found amidst the study. Participants were 75% less likely to agree and support the statement of a non-mainstream economist.
- Moreover, female economists were 40% less likely to be taken away by the author’s name. In short, what mattered to most of the women was the content and not the author concerned. This was in accordance with the reason behind the study.
Why Including Females Can Help Fix The Bias?
“It’s not about gender. It’s about ideology particularly, that makes women appropriate for fixing the bias in economics. Most of our women employees have been seen to carry on their work with full dedication, diligence. Most importantly, women have been known to almost never indulge in bias related issues,” says Verma.
If the ideology of a person changes in accordance with his view point towards the author, it poses a possibility of ill structured economy. Since females were less considerate towards who wrote the statement, than what the statement says, this suggests that females were able to put aside their biases and focus more on what the content was. “This proves fruitful and productive for the organization because after all, it’s the content and the idea that matters and the person behind it is a secondary thought, which doesn’t even need to be considered at the primary front,” says Nikhil Chopra, senior recruiter at a consultancy company, when asked about his views on how the research proves fruitful for the organization.
The study also revealed that “economics has made little progress in closing its gender gap over the last several decades. Given the field’s prominence in determining public policy, this is a serious issue. Whether explicit or more subtle, intentional or not, the hurdles that women face in economics are very real”.
Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv