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Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and de-biasing people’s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Diversity training programs have had limited success, and individual effort alone often invites backlash. Behavioral design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts. Presenting research-based solutions, Iris Bohnet hands us the tools we need to move the needle in classrooms and boardrooms, in hiring and promotion, benefiting businesses, governments, and the lives of millions.
What Works is built on new insights into the human mind. It draws on data collected by companies, universities, and governments in Australia, India, Norway, the United States, Zambia, and other countries, often in randomized controlled trials. It points out dozens of evidence-based interventions that could be adopted right now. Some are already in place.
For example, a curtain concealing the gender of musicians during audition vastly increases the talent available to orchestras. Smarter evaluation procedures help organizations hire and promote the best instead of those who look the part. Redesigned tests, such as the SAT in the United States, no longer favor risk-takers; counter-stereotypical politicians in India affect what people believe possible; and transparency helps build diverse boards in the United Kingdom. A wealth of evidence-based examples like these demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias and improving lives and performance, and what more can be done—often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed.