Curb inequality — and cultures that
countenance sexual harassment — with
modest, daily actions.
BY ALEX SHASHKEVICH
Photograph by Drew Kelly
Shelley Correll is a professor
of organizational behavior
(by courtesy) at Stanford GSB and
director of the Clayman Institute for
Gender Research at Stanford.
At a time when many companies are feeling
pressured to report on and reduce gender
inequality within the workforce, a Stanford
sociologist is finding success with a step-by-step method for eliminating the bias at the
root of the problem.
In a recently published paper in Gender
& Society, Shelley Correll, director of the
Clayman Institute for Gender Research and
a professor (by courtesy) of organizational
behavior at Stanford GSB, explains the
process, which she and her team piloted
and found successful while working with
several technology companies over the
last three years.
The method, which Correll dubs “a small-wins model,” focuses on educating managers
and workers about bias; diagnosing where
gender bias could enter their company’s
hiring, promotion, or other evaluation
practices; and working with the company’s
leaders to develop tools that help reduce bias
and inequality in measurable ways.
“The change we can realistically expect
to produce in any one instance will be small,
imperfect, and incomplete,” Correll writes.
“Step by step, I believe that these small
wins are the path to achieving our larger
goal, which is the transformation of our
WHEN BIAS TRAINING
Over the past 30 years, research has shown
that stereotypes about what men and
women are capable of and how they should
behave cause people to evaluate the genders
differently, especially when the criteria for
evaluation are ambiguous. This bias puts
women at a disadvantage in workplaces,
where they get hired and promoted at lower
rates than men.
Women are usually subjected to a higher
bar, requiring more evidence than men to be
seen as qualified. In addition, if coworkers
judge a woman to be competent, they often
judge her as less likable, a correlation that
doesn’t hold true for men.
Because of this research, many
companies in recent years have invested