Promoting Gender

Kevin Lewis

April 08, 2021

Modern Sexism in Modern Times: Public Opinion in the #MeToo Era
Allison Archer & Cindy Kam
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming


Issues of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gendered power imbalances have risen to prominence in the wake of the 2016 US presidential election and the rise of the #MeToo movement. This paper uses original panel and cross-sectional data to assess the degree to which levels of sexism have changed in response to current events, and finds very little change in levels of sexism from 2004 to 2018. The results also suggest that modern sexism significantly correlates with views undercutting the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct, purporting that #MeToo has gone too far, and opposing mandatory workplace harassment training, among other beliefs. Overall, the evidence suggests that modern sexism is firmly entrenched in the public mind and readily connected to public opinion in the wake of #MeToo.

Motherhood Penalties and Fatherhood Premiums: Effects of Parenthood on Earnings Growth Within and Across Firms
Wei-hsin Yu & Yuko Hara
Demography, February 2021, Pages 247–272


Despite much interest in how parenthood contributes to the gender pay gap, prior research has rarely explored firms' roles in shaping the parenthood pay penalty or premium. The handful of studies that investigated parenthood's effects within and across firms generally compared parents and their childless peers at a given time and failed to account for unobserved heterogeneity between the two groups. Such comparisons also cannot inform how having children may alter individuals' earnings trajectories within and across firms. Using 26 rounds of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and fixed-effects models, we examine how being a mother or father is linked to earnings growth within and across firms. We find that women's pay decreases as they become mothers and that the across-employer motherhood penalty is larger than the within-employer penalty. By contrast, fatherhood is associated with a pay premium, and the within-employer fatherhood premium is considerably greater than the across-employer one. We argue that these results are consistent with the discrimination explanation of the motherhood penalty and fatherhood premium. Because employers are likely to trust women who become mothers while working for them more than new recruits who are mothers, their negative bias against mothers would be more salient when evaluating the latter, which could result in a larger between-organizational motherhood penalty. Conversely, employers' likely greater trust in existing workers who become fathers than fathers they hire from elsewhere may amplify their positive bias favoring fathers in assessing the former, which could explain the greater within-firm fatherhood premium.

A longer shortlist increases the consideration of female candidates in male-dominant domains
Brian Lucas et al.
Nature Human Behaviour, forthcoming


Making it onto the shortlist is often a crucial early step toward professional advancement. For under-represented candidates, one barrier to making the shortlist is the prevalence of informal recruitment practices (for example, colleague recommendations). The current research investigates informal shortlists generated in male-dominant domains (for example, technology executives) and tests a theory-driven intervention to increase the consideration of female candidates. Across ten studies (N = 5,741) we asked individuals to generate an informal shortlist of candidates for a male-dominant role and then asked them to extend the list. We consistently found more female candidates in the extended (versus initial) list. This longer shortlist effect occurs because continued response generation promotes divergence from the category prototype (for example, male technology executives). Studies 3 and 4 supported this mechanism, and study 5 tested the effect of shortlist length on selection decisions. This longer shortlist intervention is a low-cost and simple way to support gender equity efforts.

The gender gap in aversion to COVID-19 exposure: Evidence from professional tennis
Zuzanna Kowalik & Piotr Lewandowski
PLoS ONE, March 2021


We study the gender differences in aversion to COVID-19 exposure using a natural experiment of the 2020 US Open. It was the first major tennis tournament after the season had been paused for six months, held with the same rules and prize money for men and women. We analyze the gender gap in the propensity to voluntarily withdraw because of COVID-19 concerns among players who were eligible and fit to play. We find that female players were significantly more likely than male players to have withdrawn from the 2020 US Open. While players from countries characterized by relatively high levels of trust and patience and relatively low levels of risk-taking were more likely to have withdrawn than their counterparts from other countries, female players exhibited significantly higher levels of aversion to pandemic exposure than male players even after cross-country differences in preferences are accounted for. About 15% of the probability of withdrawing that is explained by our model can be attributed to gender.

Equal Performance, Different Grade: Women’s Performance in Discussion Perceived Worse Than Men’s
Angela Dorrough et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming


We investigate how men and women are evaluated in group discussions. In five studies (N = 761) using a variant of a Hidden Profile Task, we find that, when experimentally and/or statistically controlling for actual gender differences in behavior, the female performance in a group discussion is devalued in comparison to male performance. This was observed for fellow group members (Study 1) and outside observers (Studies 2–5), in both primarily student (Studies 1, 4, and 5) and mixed samples (Studies 2 and 3), for different measures of performance (perceived helpfulness of the contribution, for work-related competence), across different discussion formats (preformulated chat messages, open chat), and when controlling for the number of female group members (Study 5). In contrast to our hypothesis, we did not find a moderating effect of selection procedure in that women were devalued to a similar degree in both situations with a women’s quota and without.

Women in STEM: Ability, Preference, and Value
Xuan Jiang
Labour Economics, forthcoming


Women are underrepresented in both STEM college majors and STEM jobs. Even with a STEM college degree, women are significantly less likely to work in STEM occupations than their male counterparts. This paper studies the determinants of the gender gap in college major choice and job choice between STEM and non-STEM fields and quantifies how much the gender wage gap can be explained by these choices using an extended Roy Model. I find that men's ability sorting behavior is statistically stronger than women's in major choice, yet gender differences in ability and ability sorting together explain only a small portion of the gender gap in STEM majors. The gender gap in STEM occupations cannot be explained by the gender differences in ability or ability sorting. Instead, a part of the gender gap in STEM occupations can be explained by the fact that women are more represented in less Math-intensive STEM majors and graduates from those majors are more likely to be well-matched to and to take jobs in non-STEM occupations. The other part of the gender gap in STEM occupations can be explained by women’s preference over work-life balance and women’s home location. The counterfactual analysis shows that about 13.7% of the gender wage gap among college graduates can be explained by the returns to STEM careers among the non-STEM women in the top 6.7% of the ability distribution.

Representation is Not Sufficient for Selecting Gender Diversity
Justus Baron et al.
NBER Working Paper, April 2021


Representation of women and minorities in a “selectorate” — the group that chooses an organization's leaders — is a key mechanism for promoting diversity. We show that representation, on its own, is not sufficient for selecting gender diversity: a supportive organizational culture is also required. In the case of the Internet Engineering Task Force, a random increase in female representation in its selection committee caused an increase in female appointments only after cultural norms supporting diversity and inclusion became more salient.

Congruence Between Leadership Gender and Organizational Claims Affects the Gender Composition of the Applicant Pool: Field Experimental Evidence
Mabel Abraham & Vanessa Burbano
Organization Science, forthcoming


The extent to which men and women sort into different jobs and organizations — namely, gender differences in supply-side labor market processes — is a key determinant of workplace gender composition. This study draws on theories of congruence to uncover a unique organization-level driver of gender differences in job seekers’ behavior. We first argue and show that congruence between leadership gender and organizational claims is a key mechanism that drives job seekers’ interest. Specifically, many organizational claims are gender-typed, such that social claims activate the female stereotype, whereas business claims activate the male stereotype. Thus, whereas female-led organizations making social claims are gender-congruent, male-led firms making the same claims are gender-incongruent. Beyond demonstrating a general preference among job seekers for congruence, we also find that female job seekers are most interested in working for organizations that are simultaneously congruent and provide credible signals that they are fair and equitable employers. The congruence of leadership gender and organizational claims thus affects the gender composition of applicant pools for otherwise identical jobs.

Keeping the Women Out: A Gendered Organizational Approach to Understanding Early Career-Ending Police Misconduct
Janne Gaub & Kristy Holtfreter
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming


Female representation in policing has stagnated over the past three decades, even with repeated calls for diversification. One explanation for this is that agency attempts to diversify the workforce are merely perfunctory — departments recruit and hire women to placate reformers, but then remove them at opportune times. Guided by the gendered organizations framework, this study uses secondary data from the New York Police Department (NYPD) to examine the extent to which the NYPD used the discretionary nature of probation to remove women from the ranks. We find that a substantially higher percentage of women (compared to men) were terminated from the NYPD during probation, and for relatively minor offenses. We discuss the theoretical and policy implications of these findings.

A multivariate analysis of workplace mentoring and socializing in the wake of #MeToo
Michael French, Karoline Mortensen & Andrew Timming
Applied Economics, forthcoming


This paper examines workplace mentoring and socializing behaviours in the wake of #MeToo and whether these practices might be associated with women’s career trajectories. To address this important and timely topic, we fielded two surveys, one to managers (n = 203) and the other to female employees (n = 1,847), asking several questions about mentoring and male/female work interactions. Descriptive statistics show that 32% of the female employee sample report that their views on male/female work interactions are different today than they were 1–2 years ago. Multivariate analyses of the manager sample indicate that male managers are significantly less likely than female managers to mentor or interact one-on-one with female employees. The implication of these findings is that female employees may face a mentoring disadvantage in the wake of #MeToo. The adverse effects for career growth and advancement for female employees could be profound.

Women in the Inner Circle: Gender and Director Networks After the Fracturing of the Corporate Elite
Richard Benton
Organization Science, forthcoming


Over the past two decades, women have increased their representation among multiboard directors — corporate directors who simultaneously hold seats on two or more firms. Traditionally, multiboard directors exercised greater power and influence in corporate governance. As a consequence, women’s increased representation among this “inner circle” could signal women’s increased influence in corporate governance. However, women’s access to these elite positions comes at a time when multiboard holding has declined. This paper investigates gendered patterns in access to and outcomes of multiboard holding. I argue that these patterns reflect gendered logics in director appointment practices such that firms increasingly recruit and appoint highly boarded female directors, but multiboard women continue to lag in substantive influence in the boardroom. Analyses of nearly two decades of data on S&P 1500 boards demonstrate female directors’ increased access to the corporate inner-circle, but this access is decoupled from increased participation in board committees and interorganizational social influence. I discuss implications for theory on gender tokenism, corporate networks, and board processes.

The Effect of Peer Gender on Major Choice in Business School
Ulf Zölitz & Jan Feld
Management Science, forthcoming


Business degrees are popular and lead to high earnings. Female business graduates, however, earn less than their male counterparts. These gender differences can be traced back to university, where women shy away from majors like finance that lead to high earnings. In this paper, we investigate how the gender composition of peers in business school affects women’s and men’s major choices and labor market outcomes. We find that women who are randomly assigned to teaching sections with more female peers become less likely to choose male-dominated majors like finance and more likely to choose female-dominated majors like marketing. After graduation, these women end up in jobs where their earnings grow more slowly. Men, on the other hand, become more likely to choose male-dominated majors and less likely to choose female-dominated majors when they had more female peers in business school. However, men’s labor market outcomes are not significantly affected. Taken together, our results show that studying with more female peers in business school increases gender segregation in educational choice and affects labor market outcomes.

The Effect of Title IX on Gender Disparity in Graduate Education
Nayoung Rim
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming


This paper examines whether Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which banned sex discrimination in admissions, was successful in reducing gender disparity in graduate education. Using school‐level survey data and a national survey of college degree‐holders, I find that female enrollment at graduate schools increased by an average of 18.7 percent following Title IX's passage. This phenomenon was mainly driven by schools that had greater incentive to comply with the new law. I also find evidence that Title IX reduced gender disparities across degree fields; the female‐male gap in traditionally male fields closed by 3.2 to 8.5 percentage points after Title IX. These results are robust to alternative explanations, such as the end of the Vietnam War draft, law changes related to fertility, and other events that occurred between the late 1960s and early 1970s that may also have affected female educational decisions.


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