Times caption: Only 40 per cent of people in the study recommended a woman for a job that required high intellect (GETTY IMAGES)
A hilarious piece in today’s Times by Tom Whipple, Science Editor:
A company is recruiting and wants recommendations. The requirements: superior reasoning skills and a high IQ. Which of your friends do you recommend?
The chances are you are thinking of a man.
A study of more than 1,000 people found that when asked to imagine who would be best for an intellectually challenging job, people of both sexes are far more likely to suggest male acquaintances. The researchers said this could help to explain lower numbers of women in jobs traditionally associated with individual genius.
“Could it be that one reason that women are underrepresented in fields where people think brilliance is required, is that other people don’t see brilliance in them?” said Andrei Cimpian, of New York University.
His research, published in the journal American Psychologist, found that if people were presented with a job description that required commitment or effort there was very little gender bias in who they recommended. Female friends were suggested by 52 per cent of people.
If, however, the skills related to intellect then both sexes were more likely to suggest men, with only 40 per cent recommending women. [J4MB: If you took into account women’s strong in-group bias, and men’s absence of an in-group bias, the proportion would inevitably be FAR below 40 per cent.]
The findings fit into other work showing, for instance, that students were far more likely to rate male teachers as “brilliant” and “geniuses” and that academic letters of recommendation for women contain fewer superlatives such as “brilliant scientist” and “trailblazer”. [J4MB: Now why might that be? No, we’re as stumped for an explanation as the “professor”.]
Professor Cimpian said that this strongly implied that women had a harder time getting the best jobs, despite the fact that girls perform as well or better than boys academically. “We have to challenge this stereotype that associates brilliance more with men than women,” he added.
In his next “study”, “Professor” Cimpian will investigate why most men and women believe men are, on average, taller than women. After all, we have to challenge the stereotype that associates tallness more with men than women. After that, he’ll be studying whether bears defecate in tree-rich environments, then he plans to establish the pope’s religion. That should take him up to his retirement, with a generous pension, courtesy of long-suffering American taxpayers.
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