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1 + 1 = gender discrimination in hiring?

Most working adults in Long Island have made it through high school and, even if they don't remember all of the math that they've learned, they should be able to remember certain basic concepts. Some jobs require a very specialized knowledge of math and some just require the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Regardless of the job, it seems that managers are more likely to hire men than women to perform mathematical tasks.

Unfortunately, gender discrimination is alive and well in the workplace. From unequal pay for women to only promoting men to "traditionally male" roles in management to hiring a less-qualified male over a more-qualified female, gender discrimination is against both federal and state laws. When incidents of gender discrimination do happen, a wronged employee or applicant can work with a lawyer to file an employment discrimination lawsuit.

An experiment was recently covered in the Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences in which business professors asked "managers" to hire individuals to do work that required math. Ostensibly all that these managers had were pictures of the applicants, and based on that information alone, the managers chose to overwhelmingly hire men over women. The study found that men were twice as likely to be hired.

In another version of the experiment, the professors even gave the managers information on each applicant's ability to complete the tasks of the job, but managers still chose men 1 1/2 times more than women.

Sadly, this kind of mathematical bias against women is so pervasive that many women choose not to study math and science in the belief that their failure to get work is because they are less capable than men.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Math bias seen in hiring of women," Shaila Dewan, March 11, 2014

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