Research shows that sexism takes a toll on who gets to be more creative — men or women — in the workplace and that actively working on not being sexist at work and choosing political correctness instead makes a more creative and productive environment. But facts like those won’t stop the patriarchy! There are still tons of double standards when it comes to the ways women and men are treated and perceived at work. One of them, according to a new study, has to do with ethical behavior.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University, the Wharton School and Northwestern University conducted studies to figure out if there are any biases going on in workplaces in terms of what people consider ethical and unethical behavior. Their first study concluded that people view women as more ethical than men, even when they’re in the exact same professional role.
While that’s not necessarily a bad thing — it’s essentially that women are viewed as better people, right? — the researchers started to get curious about the kinds of effects these prescribed gender roles can have on women in the workplace. So they did two more studies to figure it out.
In the first, they told volunteers about a medical administrator who knowingly filed a false medical insurance claim. Half of the group were told the administrator was a man, and half were told it was a woman. Both groups were asked to recommend jail sentences. The difference was staggering: The group that thought the unethical person was a man recommended 80 days in jail, while the group that thought the administrator was a woman recommended 130 days. Eesh.
Lastly, the researchers wanted to examine the double standard in the context of law. They analyzed 500 cases of lawyers who were disciplined by the bar association for unethical behavior. What they found was that women had a 35 percent chance of being disbarred, while men only had a 17 percent chance.
Bottom line: While there’s no question that unethical behavior is bad, so are sexist double standards.
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