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Dr. Catherine Ashcraft, NCWIT Senior Research Scientist PowerPoint Presentation
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Dr. Catherine Ashcraft, NCWIT Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Catherine Ashcraft, NCWIT Senior Research Scientist

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Dr. Catherine Ashcraft, NCWIT Senior Research Scientist

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  1. Dr. Catherine Ashcraft, NCWIT Senior Research Scientist Unconscious Biases: Addressing Stealth Barriers to Innovation & Productivity

  2. Women in Tech: The Facts

  3. Women In Tech: The Facts

  4. We’re Losing The Women Who Are Already There: An Unnecessary Corporate Brain Drain 74% love work 56% leave 75% stay in workforce Sources: Capturing Turnover Costs, Joins, 2000; TalentKeepers, 2010; Athena Factor, 2008

  5. Why Women Matter

  6. Diversity Enhances Teams Groups with greater diversity solve complex problems better and faster than homogenous groups. Scott Page, The difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies, Princeton University Press, 2009.

  7. Women Improve Innovation A group’s collective intelligence is not predicted by the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises. “Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups,” Science October 2010, Woolley, Chabris, Pentland, Hashmi and Malone.

  8. Women Correlate withSuccess Analysis of more than 20,000 venture-backed companies showed that successful startups have twice as many women in senior positions as unsuccessful companies. Analysis of more than 20,000 venture-backed companies showed that successful startups have twice as many women in senior positions as unsuccessful companies. Dow Jones VentureSource, 2011.

  9. Women Help Companies Grow Tech companies led by women delivered higher revenues using less capital and were more likely to survive the transition from startup to established company Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures: "High Performance Entrepreneurs: Women in High-Tech," 2010.

  10. Why the Problem Persists: Understanding and addressing unconscious biases

  11. What the Research Says

  12. Let’s Cut to the Chase • Technical Women Aren’t Broken • Technical Men Aren’t The Enemy • Culprit = Societal Biases We All Share • We Can Take Action Together

  13. And EARLY ON is a particularly good time to start! Culture By Design or By Default

  14. Society is Biased About Gender and Technology

  15. What Causes Societal Bias? We all have shortcuts, “schemas” that help us make sense of the world. But our shortcuts sometimes make us misinterpret or miss things. That’s unconscious bias.

  16. What do you see?

  17. Count How Many Passes •

  18. Notice anything odd about this lung scan? Photo:

  19. More on Societal Bias – Howard vs. Heidi

  20. Howard vs. Heidi

  21. Howard vs. Heidi

  22. Howard vs. Heidi

  23. Unconscious Bias Is More Salient in Homogenous Organizations Society Organizational Culture Institutional Barriers Subtle Dynamics Schemas/ Unconscious Biases Employees

  24. Example: White male engineering students score lower when told in advance that Asians typically score higher on math tests Subtle Dynamics Example: Stereotype Threat Source: Aronson, et al., 1999; Steele & Aronson, 1998

  25. How Stereotype Threat Shows Up in Technical Environments Not speak up in meetings Be reluctant to take leadership positions Be overly harsh about their own work Discount their performance

  26. Subtle Dynamics Example: Micro-inequities Slights: “Actually, Susan has a good idea.” Exclusion: “Oops, I forgot to cc her on the email about the architecture review.” Recognition: “No, I’m pretty sure Jane would not have had the idea to use a link algorithm.” Isolation: “Dude, let’s talk about it over a beer!”

  27. Institutional Barriers Hiring Selecting people “like me” Task Assignment Women find themselves in “low status” jobs Performance Appraisal Men appraised for effort, skill; women for collaboration, luck Promotion Criteria modeled implicitly on existing senior male leaders

  28. “Blind” orchestra auditions, with musicians behind a curtain, increased the number of female musicians hired by 25% to 46% percent. Institutional Barriers Example: Bias in Hiring Goldin & Rouse (2000) The American Economic Review, 90(4), 715-741.

  29. Invite Diversity & Actively Recruit

  30. Evaluate Interview Questions and Include a Woman in the Interview

  31. Audit Your Physical Space for Gendered Vibes (Cheryan, S., Plaut, V., Davies, P., & Steele, C. (2009). Ambient belonging: How stereotypical cues impact gender participation in computer science. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(6), 1045-1060; Photo:

  32. Assure inclusive team meetings and social events.

  33. Provide Recognition, Credit, Encouragement

  34. Audit Performance Review & Advancement Processes Examine performance reviews for unconscious biases Build accountability metrics into managers’ performance reviews Clarify paths to promotion

  35. Consciously Develop Talent Watch for biases in task assignment/leadership opportunities Watch for biases in career path advice

  36. Be a Male Advocate; Inspire More Male Advocates

  37. Enable & Empathize • “Every person that becomes an advocate had to go through that door where they take the first risk and realize, ‘Oh, that wasn’t so bad.’ • So I would talk about the risk-taking that you take the first or second time and how, all of a sudden, it is no longer risk-taking.”

  38. Listening to Women’s Stories • “When it finally started to hit me about gender diversity…We were in a big meeting and…she made a comment about how difficult it was for her to be a leader in the organization as a woman. And so, here is someone who I literally was putting on a pedestal saying this…And I…was like, “Wow!” So I asked her after the meeting… “Hey I want to go to lunch with you, I want to understand this!”

  39. Talk to Other Men • “It’s like if I work on me, I can call people in my immediate peer group when they do something… call them on it and make sure they’re aware of what they’re doing.…I guess my strategy is increasing awareness.” ASSUME BEST INTENTIONS

  40. Correct Biases & Microinequities • “A lot of times, the women’s voice kind of gets drowned; it’s left out in a sense. I tend to play that role of connector in group settings. So, I…say, “Wait a minute — [woman’s name] has something to say....Or, you know, “[woman’s name] looks like she wants to get in here, but [man’s name], you just keep talking and we can’t hear over you.”

  41. Don’t give up: this is a long distance race and not a sprint

  42. Supervisory Program-in-a-Box Series Women & IT – The Facts Top Ten Ways to Be a Male Advocate for Technical Women Top 10 Ways Managers Can Increase the Visibility of Technical Women Keep Going with Research-Backed Resources

  43. Questions?

  44. Small Group Questions • How do we surface unspoken gender issues in the workplace? • How is our organization laid out – in what ways might it subtly disadvantage women or other groups? • What do men most worry about when it comes to getting involved or being a male advocate?