Gender Bias’ Information Gap
Deeply disappointed in The Florida Bar for prominently publishing Edward J. Lyon’s letter to the editor in the August 2019 issue. The questioning of the merits and accuracy of a gender bias study as being biased and misogynistic because it did not question men inter alia is quite preposterous. In fact, other research studies suggest that the study may under represent gender bias.
Last April, an international team of psychology researchers from Poland, Switzerland, and Israel published a piece on the “Bias Against Research on Gender Bias” in Scientometrics. Through a bibliometric investigation covering a broad range of social sciences, the researchers found “published articles on gender bias and race bias…are funded less often and published in journals with a lower “impact factor” than articles on comparable instances of social discrimination.” These results led the researchers to suggest that “the possibility of an under appreciation of the phenomenon of gender bias and related research.”
In a report in August 2017, the International Labor Organization (ILO) found, “[u]nconscious gender bias remains a significant barrier to women’s career advancement. It is also difficult to identify and prevent.” There is an information gap in gender bias. What is more likely is that women experience gender bias so often and severely, that they ignore it rather than register it. The Florida Bar, like other professional organizations, can work to alleviate gender bias instead. Recommendations by the ILO for organizations include engagement “with their members and the business community to raise awareness of the impact of unconscious gender bias” as well as “services to help their members mitigate the impacts of unconscious gender bias in the workplace.” That is a someplace to start.
Nadia B. Ahmad, Orlando