Wednesday, March 07, 2018

The trial backfired

I was reading a newspaper for Australian teachers (The Australian Education Reporter, Term 1 2018) and found a revealing article about sex discrimination in the workplace.

Titled "Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Education" it began by noting that over 75% of Australia's full-time teachers are women. The percentage of male teachers is steadily falling:

Predictably, though, the complaint made in the newspaper article wasn't about the lack of men in the teaching profession. It was that only four out of 16 senior management positions in the state of Western Australia are held by women.

And this is where things got really interesting. It seems that the Commonwealth Government held a trial to see if "sex blind" recruiting would increase the number of women in senior management positions. In other words, candidates for a position had to submit a resume that did not indicate which sex they were.

The results? Here is how the newspaper reported things:
The danger of quick-fix solutions to rectify gender inequity was revealed by the ABC when an attempt at "blind recruitment" in the public sector had to be stopped when the trial backfired against women and ethnic minorities.

The trial, done by several public sector organisations, aimed to remove sexism from selection processes, including female bosses, when gender was removed from applications.

The Commonwealth Government trial was abandoned when it was found that de-identifying candidates reduced the likelihood of women being selected for the shortlist, as adding a woman's name to a CV made the candidate 2.9 times more likely to be selected.

The results were not what was expected. It was revealed that women were not discriminated against by hiring panels, but were strongly favoured. It was men who faced a barrier, not women.


  1. I find it interesting that the newspaper would use the word "danger" in referring to recruitment practices that don't overwhelmingly favor women.

  2. International women's Day was celebrated at my company today. Several emails were sent out by the execs. Replete with the virtue signalling you would expect, one showed that 56% of employees are women (its a life insurance company btw). Of course, they said 'more is to be done'. Maybe a 100% figure is the goal? What struck me was not the obvious reverse-discrimination, but the question 'who is going to have and raise the children for our society?'