The Disturbing Science Behind Subconscious Gender Bias

shoshana kordova
Sep 22, 2016 · 13 min read

The Power Of Implicit Bias

Sometimes acts of violence predicated, at least in part, on some form of gender or sexuality bias break through to the surface: Bill Cosby’s long history of (allegedly) drugging and raping woman after woman after woman, Brock Turner’s sexual assault of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus, Omar Mateen’s deadly shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Reports of violence like this make it easier to see the extreme end of what can happen when people are overtly discriminatory.

Biases In The World Of STEM

In the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), it’s possible to see just how dire the impacts of implicit bias can be.

False Information Is Hard To Forget

Compounding all this is the fact that, it turns out, it’s much harder to forget incorrect information that you’ve inferred yourself, based on hints and clues and implicit messages, than it is to forget incorrect information you’ve explicitly been told, according to a recent study conducted by Kent State University researchers Patrick Rich and Maria Zaragoza. “Misinformation that is ‘merely’ implied,” they write, “is more difficult to eradicate than misinformation that is stated explicitly.”

What Do We Do Now?

Let’s say we can agree that sexist microaggressions are prevalent and difficult to address. After all, we’ve seen that even women who graduate with a science or engineering degree make less than three-quarters of the salary received by men who studied the same subjects. And women even internalize negative stereotypes about themselves, underestimating their scientific reasoning and the math scores they earned, something their male peers don’t do when it comes to math and science.

The Establishment

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shoshana kordova

Written by

Writer & editor focusing on health, science, gender and parenting. Co-founder of http://www.havefaithwillparent.com/, where parents of different faiths hang out

The Establishment

The conversation is much more interesting when everyone has a voice. Media funded and run by women; new content daily.