When women have to work harder to establish competence
Women often tell us that they have to work twice as hard to get half as far. What’s behind this? Studies show that, in jobs historically held by men, men are presumed to be competent, while women often have to prove their competence over and over again. Thus men but not women may be given the benefit of the doubt. In addition, women’s mistakes may be remembered forever while men’s are soon forgotten.
One of the most common examples of “Prove it Again!” is the double standard that
men are judged on their potential, while women are judged strictly on what they
already have accomplished. Women also may get polarized evaluations from students
or peers: Women who are superstars get high evaluations while women whose work is
merely excellent tend to get sharply lower evaluations than similarly situated men.
These scenarios illustrate the Prove it Again! bias (or lack of it). These scenarios
are based on information from surveys and focus groups of faculty women.
After learning about all four gender bias patterns, take our Gender Bias Quiz to
see how much you’ve learned. Click here.
Watch experts describe the Prove It Again! bias.
Watch experts suggest how to survive the Prove It Again! bias.
Ben Barres, the Chair of neurobiology at Stanford University, has a unique perspective on gender bias. To read about his story and observations