Not OK: 100 percent of women of color face gender bias in this career field
It’s no secret that women face real obstacles if they’re trying to go into STEM jobs, but this statistic is beyond depressing: A recent report from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law found that 100% of the women of color they interviewed say they’ve experienced gender bias in the field of science, math, technology and engineering.
You read that right: One hundred percent, or every single one of the women of color who responded. And 93 percent of white women also said they had experienced gender bias..
Sexist issues were a big problem, and women of color also were subject to terrible stereotypes. A few awful examples? Black and Latina women said they were regularly mistaken for janitors in their workplace.
Latina women also reported being labeled “crazy” when they expressed emotion, and black women reported being put into the “angry black female” category. Asian-American women said that they felt pressure to act traditionally feminine and faced pushback from peers if they asked assertively.
The study, which Mashable first reported on, was conducted by Joan C. Williams, a professor who has studied gender for over 25 years. She also reported that women of color from the study experienced sexual harassment at a high rate, and that they are less likely to be hired for jobs even when their math skills were identical to their male counterparts’.
“Women leave these jobs because they are incredibly unpleasant,” Williams wrote. “It’s like a death by a thousand cuts.”
Great. But it’s not entirely depressing: Williams identified several “bias interrupters” that could change the environment. For example, using focus groups to assess and report bias in every institution could help immensely. Employers need to identify these factors to foster a better workplace for women.
“This is not women’s problem,” Williams wrote. “If you want to interrupt the bias, you actually have to redesign the business system.”