Gender bias in job postings
Complying to working under challenging and tight deadlines, leading a strong team, stretching over weekends, early mornings, and in a fast-paced environment, imply the prerequisite of a masculine denotation – most certainly found in many job postings across the globe.
Providing equal access to opportunities and resources to all employees is a goal with substantial importance for any organization. While organizations try their absolute best to eliminate any form of bias at the workplace, an unconscious bias may often stop them from being actually inclusive. Here is the worst part about an unconscious bias – as the name suggests, it happens when we unintentionally ascribe certain characteristics or qualities to a person – and thus, we might not even be aware of it.
Also read: Diversity and Inclusion (Click here)
One such bias is gender bias, due to which, we develop a tendency to give preference to one gender over the other. This preferential treatment leads to gender-based discrimination. As a matter of fact, women have to overcome unjust hurdles to be able to secure a higher place in the corporate hierarchy. Once again, it is important to note – gender bias is an unconscious bias. Many organizations have pledged to entirely eradicate any discrimination based on gender, and in the process of doing so, there has been an introduction to new policies and amendments in the existing ones to ease the professional growth of a woman at the workplace.
Why does gender bias exist? The most common reason for this problem across all demographics is our societal beliefs. When we think of a leader, we think of a man. Why so? The characteristics of a leader include dominance, power, assertiveness, self-reliance, etc. We believe only a man can be courageous, assertive and, strong, and women, they are gentle, emotional, and supportive. Due to these deep-rooted beliefs, it is difficult for us to think the opposite can be possible, or at the least, consider a woman to be decisive and independent. This is the point where there is preferential treatment in action and we become biased based on gender.
In India, 22% of the working women have faced some kind of favorable bias towards men at their workplace says a report. A whopping 85% claim to have missed out on a raise, promotion, or even work offer, because of their gender. Around 37% of working women claimed that they get fewer opportunities than men. As per LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2021, Indian working women face the strongest impact on their career development due to gender bias. “Gender inequality at work and added domestic responsibilities amid the pandemic have collectively made women’s jobs more vulnerable at this time,” said Ruchee Anand, Director, Talent, and Learning Solutions, India at LinkedIn (Reference: Fortune India)
While we work toward promoting gender equality at the workplaces over the years, we still have a long way to go before gender bias gets completely eradicated. As per a survey launched by Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Indian Women Network (IWN), 47 percent of respondents reported the presence of merely 5 percent women in senior management roles.
Gender bias can be seen at different levels at the workplace and starts from job postings. Due to the language subtitles, stereotyping job descriptions, creating fictional barriers, some job postings might appear gender-specific and prevent the other gender from applying. But, with conscious efforts, it is possible to achieve bias-free job postings. Let us look at some ways which help remove gender bias in job postings.
- Education about gender bias
In order to stop gender bias, the first step is to acknowledge that gender bias exists. For eliminating gender bias in job postings, the hiring team must be careful, adapting a conscious approach to avoid any attributes that are accredited to a certain gender in the job descriptions.
- Choice of words
The pronouns, adjectives, phrases, etc. used in the job descriptions can subtly reflect gender preference. In the job postings, the selection of gender-neutral titles balance out masculine and feminine attributes that indicate they value diverse set of skills, like ‘chairperson’ instead of ‘chairman’, would be more appropriate for eliminating any gender bias. “Like legal citizens – can be replaced with “Authorised to work in ___)
- Revamping hiring process
Making small changes in the hiring process can provide great results towards eliminating gender bias in the selection criteria. For example, usage of tools for preventing gender bias. Recruiting technology (using tools like Gender Decoder and Textio) can help checking the job description for any bias and getting suggestions to improve.
- Getting feedback
Another attempt at removing gender bias is to take feedback from the women during the recruitment process and also after hiring by rolling out an anonymous survey around gender bias. This will provide good insights to the organization whether the women at the workplace faced or are facing any bias based on gender.
There has been a steady decrement in gender bias over the period of time. However, it exists. The good part is if there is a conscious effort it can be eliminated to achieve gender equality at the workplace.
With over 10 years of expertise in HR consultancy, Vision Management consultants can support you in crafting your job postings bearing the gender-neutral strategies in mind. Not just a gender-neutral job posting, but we also assist you in creating an overall better job posting that can showcase the right skillset expected from an applicant.