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Ending Gender Discrimination Requires More than a Training Program

Francesca Gino writes, "This week, approximately 9,000 current and former female employees of KPMG were invited to join a class-action lawsuit against the firm alleging they were paid less than their male counterparts, in violation of the U.S. Equal Pay Act. Such gender discrimination appears to persist in many workplaces. Women remain underrepresented in most high-level positions: They account for less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs, less than 15% of executive officers, and less than 20% of full professors in the natural sciences. And, as reported in a recent New York Times article, women make up just 17% of Google’s engineering employees and 21% of its managers.

One possible explanation for such drastic gender disparities is that they are caused by unconscious biases. These biases, which social scientists have found to be prevalent in our society, are rooted in our tendency to rely on cognitive shortcuts — in essence, stereotypes — to process incoming information."

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