May 25 2011
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Employment ads signal traditional gender roles, Duke study finds
Dubai, UAE, 25 May 2011 - Job seekers may not be aware of it, but employment ads can signal whether a job is typically held by men or women, according to researchers at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, Princeton University and the University of Waterloo.
The clues come in the form of gendered words like competitive and dominant (male) versus compassionate and nurturing (female), the researchers report. Both men and women show a preference for job descriptions matching their gender, women more strongly so. But no one in the study was aware of the effect, the researchers discovered.
"Our research suggests these signals may perpetuate gender inequality in the workplace," said senior author Aaron Kay, associate professor of management, psychology and neuroscience at Fuqua." When we ask people why they don't like a job, they come up with all kinds of explanations. Not one participant picked up on gendered language."
For example, the masculine advertisement for a registered nurse read, "We are determined to deliver superior medical treatment tailored to each individual patient," while the feminine advertisement said, "We are committed to providing top quality health care that is sympathetic to the needs of our patients."
This unconscious response could be one reason why women are less likely to apply to jobs traditionally held by men, including those in science and technology, said Kay.
"People don't realize the cues being sent to them," said senior author Aaron Kay, associate professor of management, psychology and neuroscience at The Fuqua School of Business. "Consistently finding certain jobs less appealing - without being aware of the external reasons why - may lead some women away from occupations they may otherwise have found interesting."
Because every study participant missed the presence of gendered language, the researchers believe it's likely that companies unintentionally place gendered job advertisements.
"Many companies want to diversify," Gaucher said. "Companies that use highly masculine wording may, in reality, be just as welcoming to their female employees as they are to their male employees."
About Duke University's Fuqua School of Business
Duke University's Fuqua School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, with #1 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek) and #2 (Financial Times) ranked faculty in the US. Shaped and driven by the fundamental issues of the 21st century, the school is committed to becoming the world's first legitimately global business school, with study and research locations in China, India, Russia, the UK, the UAE, and North Carolina. Utilizing Duke's cross-disciplinary intellectual resources, The Fuqua School of Business aims to produce globally competent and socially conscious business leaders. For more information about Fuqua's degree and open enrolment executive education programs, please visit http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/.
The research report can be found online at http://tinyurl.com/5uay29d.
About Duke University
Duke University consistently ranks among the world's most prestigious schools. Duke's graduate and professional schools -- in business, divinity, engineering, the environment, law, medicine, nursing and public policy -- are among the leaders in their fields.
Duke's student body includes more than 13,000 students in its undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, and its world-class faculty is helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both in the community around its North Carolina campus and around the world.
For information about Duke University, please visit http://www.duke.edu/.
For more information contact:
Toju Ogbe or Meghna Pant
BPG Public Relations for Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 50 1045113/ +971 55 6983500
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
© Press Release 2011
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