That’s among the conclusions of a study using age to understand gender bias, based on over a million ratings of business profile photos.
The short version:
- Both men’s and women’s perceived competence increases with age, but men’s increases 6 times faster.
- Both men’s and women’s perceived influence increases with age, but men’s increases 2.5 times faster.
- Women’s perceived likability declines rapidly with age while men’s stays about the same.
Not surprising, but perhaps particularly important during interview season, when academics are asked to assess job candidates for competence, influence (/reputation) and likability (/collegiality) in ways that cannot fail to be affected by perceptions of their age and gender.
Or at least, the language of ‘coddling’ is gendered: ‘coddling’ codes as female or feminine. This is not complicated; synonyms offered up when you Google the word ‘coddle’ include ‘mother’ (but not ‘father’ or ‘parent’). An alternate form of ‘coddle’ is ‘mollycoddle’, with the prefix ‘molly’ said to be derived from the feminine name ‘Mary’ or (relatedly) from ‘molly’, meaning ‘girl or prostitute’ [yes, really]. I also just learned that ‘mollycoddle’ can be used as a noun, meaning ‘an effeminate or ineffectual’ [yes, really] man or boy. So there’s that.
In more ways than one, the application of ‘coddling’ language to student activism echoes right-wing ‘nanny state’ rhetoric, used to criticize left-wing policies perceived to interfere with personal freedoms. In both cases, we are invited to overlay a negative, feminized, childcare-related stereotype on to something in order to condemn it.
It’s a small point, but one I’m not seeing foregrounded in current discussions about ‘coddled’ students. Once I noticed this, it helped me make better sense of (some of) what’s going on in those discussions.
The 4th annual SWIP Ireland conference and meeting, 27-28 November, will be on Ways of Knowing: Feminist Philosophy of Science and Epistemology.
Program and registration details are available here.
Story here. A statement from the president of Brown discusses the reasoning behind the most recent decision, including the following:
The conduct that Mr. Cosby has acknowledged is wholly inconsistent with the behavior we expect of any individual associated with Brown. It is particularly troubling as our university community continues to confront the very real challenges of sexual violence on our campus and in society at large
An interesting article about the effects of using a male pseudonym in the world of literary publishing.
An astronomer describes some experiences that might be familiar to some readers:
To be fair, “Kelsey” can be an androgynous name, but female pronouns were used in the original news release, so these had to have been deliberately changed. One of the news organizations that changed my gender had actually interviewed me, in person …
“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry.”
Don’t forget they also can’t take a joke.
Feminist philosophers paying attention to what happens when hiring decisions in academic philosophy are made on the basis of “fit”, and/or a presumed knack for spotting “talent”, may find some of the research cited in this op ed by Lauren Rivera (author of Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs) to be of interest.
Class-based definitions of fit are one reason investment banks, management consulting firms and law firms are dominated by people from the highest socioeconomic backgrounds. Also, whether the industry is finance, high-tech or fashion, a good fit in most American corporations still tends to be stereotypically masculine.
“Don’t similar people work better together?” Yes and no. For jobs involving complex decisions and creativity more diverse teams outperform less diverse ones. Too much similarity can lead to teams that are overconfident, ignore vital information and make poor (or even unethical) decisions.
Perhaps most important, it is easy to mistake rapport for skill. Just as they erroneously believe that they can accurately tell when someone is lying, people tend to be overly confident in their ability to spot talent. Unstructured interviews … are notoriously poor predictors of job performance.
Good news for philosophy: several philosophers have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Of interest to readers of this blog, three women philosophers are among those so honored, and of particular interest is the inclusion of feminist philosopher Professor Sally Haslanger!