Working as a Woman
PHOTO CREDIT: tokyopop.com
A recent story of gender discrimination has gone viral on twitter with over 13,000 likes and 11,000 retweets. Martin Schneider had accidentally signed off a work email with the name of his female co-worker, Nicole Hallberg, and was shocked to see how different he was treated. As a sort of social experiment for gender inequality, they decided to switch names on their email for two weeks. So what happened? Reportedly, Martin was “in hell” and Nicole had “the most productive week of her career.” Check out the full story on twitter.
So here's a little story of the time @nickyknacks taught me how impossible it is for professional women to get the respect they deserve:
— Martin R. Schneider (@SchneidRemarks) March 9, 2017
While this informal experiment was mind-blowing for Martin as a man, it came to no surprise for Nicole, as she later wrote about in a piece called "Working While Female." It's difficult for men to realize the invisible forces that help them succeed and equally difficult to recognize the hurdles and obstacles women face in the workplace.
Gender discrimination has been studied at large with formal experiments in various fields. In 2012, researchers from Yale University published a study about gender bias in academic science (think big universities with hard-core research labs). They discovered significant gender inequality with faculty more likely to offer a lab manager position to a fake applicant named "John" than one named "Jennifer" with the same exact application. Not only would more "Johns" get hired, but they'd also offer him a higher salary and more mentoring. The interesting part of this study is that the responses were consistent among both male and female faculty -- both showing unknown gender bias against women.
There is much work to be done to change the mindset that knowingly and unknowingly perpetuates gender discrimination and inequality. What can you do as a peacemaker to even the playing field for men and women?