Published in April 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
No one is immune from bias—but it’s amazing how many people think they are. Most people would deny judging women’s capabilities more harshly than men’s, but numerous “blind evaluations” have shown that almost everyone does. When the Boston Symphony Orchestra began asking musicians to audition behind a curtain, allowing judgements to be based on the quality of music alone, a female musician’s chance of being chosen rose by 50 per cent.
Resistance to such policies can be strong but, as Iris Bohnet, a director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, points out, clarifying our judgement in this way allows us to make better decisions—more accurately picking the best candidates for a job, for example.