Further proof we're a long way from equality in the workplace: science faculty staff show a clear bias towards hiring male applicants for a lab manager position. The potential radical solution? Choose a name which isn't self-evidently male or female.
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PNAS reports on an experiment in which 127 science faculty staff were asked to assess a job application which was identical save for a randomly assigned male or female name. "Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant," the study found. "These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant." That difference was evident regardless of whether the assessor was male or female.
Clearly, we need a change in attitude, but in the short term, the most obvious way I can think of to work around this bias would be to pick a name (either for yourself and your kids) that can be used for both males and females: Leigh, Michael, James. Yes, that's extreme, but why let bias get in the way of your career?
Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students [Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences]