Gender Bias in the Workplace: Closing the Gap in 2023


There is no denying the advantages of gender diversity in the workplace. It has been demonstrated to boost revenue, employee satisfaction, and creativity. However, if job descriptions don’t position employees for success, a business won’t be able to accomplish diversity.

Particularly for female job searchers, language has a huge impact on whether or not a candidate identifies with a role, which affects whether or not they apply.

This article will cover the effects of gender bias at work as well as how to tell the difference between gender-neutral and gender-skewed job descriptions. We’ll also offer four suggestions for removing gender bias from job descriptions so you can make sure your job postings aren’t discouraging brilliant individuals.

What does workplace gender prejudice entail?

The tendency to favor one gender over another, whether consciously or unconsciously, is known as gender bias.

This frequently entails attaching behaviors and preconceptions to particular genders and allowing these presumptions to affect your judgment.

The problem of gender disparity in the workforce is still present. Think over the numbers below:

A 2017 Pew Research Center research found that 42% of women reported encountering gender harassment at work.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, victims of gender-based discrimination received more than $148M in compensation in 2018.

Men and women are twice as likely to hire a male job seeker, according to a 2014 PNAS study.

When focusing on the recruiting process particularly, gender bias is the practice of choosing a candidate based on their gender as opposed to considering their qualifications and appropriateness for the position. This often happens during the interview and screening rounds.

Job descriptions that favor one gender over the other

Gender discrimination starts with the language used to promote the post at the beginning of the recruitment process, despite the fact that women face challenges at various phases of their careers, including salary, opportunity, and advancement.

Although they are frequently unintentional, language carries gendered connections that affect how well a candidate believes their talents match the demands and expectations of the post.

Collier & Zhang conducted an investigation and discovered that the following gendered terms are often used in job listings:

Ambition, drive, perseverance, decision-making, superiority, assertiveness, strength, Silicon Valley, taking chances, autonomy, and competition are all masculine adjectives.

Imaginative, intuitive, resilient, self-aware, socially responsible, wellness program, nurture, teach, community, serving, loyal, excitement, support, connect, and commit are all examples of feminine terms.

Gender prejudice in job descriptions and its effects

The opposite can have serious repercussions because gender diversity has been shown to increase a company’s bottom line, foster new thinking, enhance consumer connection and resonance, and improve worker retention.

Here are three ways that gender-biased job descriptions might harm your business:

1.Reduces workplace diversity.

Because they put impediments in the way of specific genders, gender-biased job descriptions are more likely to hinder workplace diversity.

Organizations that lack diversity are unable to take advantage of the many viewpoints, cooperation, and creativity that come with a gender-balanced workplace.

In fact, a research of more than 1,000 businesses in 35 countries and 24 industries came to the conclusion that businesses with more gender diversity were more productive.

2. Affects a company’s reputation.

In today’s candidate short market when competition for top candidates is so severe, brand reputation is more crucial than ever.

Particularly given that, according to Better Team, 50% of candidates said they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad image, even if it meant getting paid more.

Organizations must be cognizant of their brand positioning and how potential employees see their views on social and cultural problems.

3. Narrows down your application pool.

Simple: the more gender-skewed your language is (i.e., the more macho your job descriptions are written), the greater the likelihood that you will be excluding a sizable section of your prospective talent pool.

Therefore, if you actively discourage particular genders from applying, there’s no assurance you’re finding the best applicant for the position.