Beware of the lens you apply on gender

Inspired by Deric’s MindBlog entry of today, I like to make a reference to a avorite quote (also on my home-page):

If the map doesn’t agree with the ground 
the map is wrong

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

The manly art of self-promotion – or maybe the female alternative, is building a map and leads to consequences we all know.

Exley and Kessler suggest that gender wage gaps may have roots in men being more self-promoting than women:

We run a series of experiments involving over 4,000 online participants and over 10,000 school-aged youth. When individuals are asked to subjectively describe their performance on a male-typed task relating to math and science, we find a large gender gap in self-evaluations.

This gap arises when self-evaluations are provided to potential employers, and thus measure self-promotion, and when self-evaluations are not driven by incentives to promote. The gender gap in self-evaluations proves to be persistent and arises as early as the sixth grade. No gender gap arises if individuals are asked about their performance on a more female-typed task.

Also valuable in this discussion is the article on “The stereotype that girls lack talent: A worldwide investigation”, which concludes:

In terms of policy interventions, trying to suppress the myth of brilliance, raw talent, and creativity might require to convey the idea that talent is built through learning and effort and through trials and errors and that it is not innate and unchangeable. This consists of instilling a growth mindset and viewing success as emerging from these processes rather than as depending on the amount of fixed, inherent ability one was supposedly born with. One small starting point is to be cautious when describing peers, children, or students as creative or brilliant because of the potential for bias in these descriptions. Exposing boys and girls to successful and arguably talented female role models is also likely to be a successful practical solution

SCIENCE ADVANCES • 9 Mar 2022 • Vol 8, Issue 10 • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abm3689

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