Women make up almost half the workforce and earn more college and postgraduate degrees than men do, but leadership positions in business, government, and education are disproportionately filled by men. Why?
Part of the story is that women face a variety of structural barriers, but a major factor is implicit bias. Most people — consciously or unconsciously — are more likely to associate men with workplaces and leadership positions and women with home and support roles. These kinds of associations lead to a biased assessment of women’s performance and ability as leaders. Even those of us who believe in gender equality and want to see more women leaders are vulnerable to bias, thanks to internalized cultural associations about gender roles and leadership.
Knowing about the unconscious associations we hold is the first step toward correcting our biases. That’s why AAUW is conducting original research on people’s associations between gender and leadership, and you can contribute! Please take our Implicit Association Test and pass it on to your colleagues, friends, and family. It just takes 10 minutes, and the results will inform our research on women in leadership.
Both women and men should take the Implicit Association Test. We’re looking for a diverse group of respondents so that we can better understand how people across our society think about women and leadership. We need women and men, younger and older people, people of every race and ethnicity, and people from different states and regions to participate!
We appreciate your role in helping us understand — and eliminate — the barriers and biases facing women in leadership.
AAUW Vice President of Research