Even Job Listings Are Sexist — Here's How
The exclusion of women from male-dominated industries and leadership roles happens at every stage of their lives, from discouragement in school to bias in job interviews. And one overlooked but major source of gender inequality in the workplace is the wording on job ads.
The job-finding platform ZipRecruiter analyzed its data to determine whether job ads companies were posting contained gender bias, and they most certainly did.
70 percent of the postings included words ZipRecruited classified as "masculine," like "leader," "aggressive," and "ambitious." While women can have these traits, research has shown that people tend to think of men when they hear them, which means they could unintentionally discourage women from applying.
Unsurprisingly, the tech industry was particularly bad, with 80 percent of ads using masculine words. But business, finance and insurance, religion and spirituality, and health care were actually the worst ones.
Aside from encouraging stereotypes, gendered wording on job ads negatively impacts companies and candidates. The use of masculine terms, as well as feminine ones like "support," "understand," and "affectionate," led fewer people to apply for jobs, which means workplaces could miss out on top talent. Gender-neutral postings got 42 percent more responses.
Jeanne Anderson, ZipRecruiter's SVP of Product Marketing and Optimization, suggests that companies replace feminine and masculine words and phrases with gender-neutral ones. For example, "exceptional" might be a less masculine alternative to "strong," and "provide great customer service" could be a less feminine way of saying "nurture and connect with customers."
Anderson also encourages women on the job hunt to challenge themselves when they think they're unqualified for something. "If they say 'strong' or 'competitive' and you don’t consider yourself a cut-throat person but you know you’re excellent at what they’re hiring for, it’s simple — just apply," she says. "Don't limit your options too early. Apply, get the interview, and then figure out whether that feeling was truly valid once you’re in the office."
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• The Gender Pay Gap Hasn’t Budged My Entire Adult Working Life, and That Pisses Me Off
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