Sexism in Recruiting: Explained

Quotas cause a lot of disputes – there is an opinion that it is not so much implementing quotas as they are at the finish, how much to create a system of equal opportunities at the start equalize social conditions, introduce special programs. Are quotas important?

Opponents of quotas use Baker’s theory of market discrimination, which says that a functioning market should, in principle, kill discrimination. For example, I am looking for an employee and I know that all other employers discriminate against women. And I have a competitive advantage: if I do not discriminate, I can hire a good employee cheaply. Baker’s theory assumes that the market will put everything in its place and discrimination will die due to competition.

But this theory is refuted by the very theory of statistical discrimination, which says that self-sustaining stereotypes can arise. This theory was proposed by the Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow, and the formal model was developed by the recent Nobel laureate Jean Tyrol (in The Theory of Collective Reputation 1996). In a simplified form, it works like this. If you are a woman and you know that you have no chance of becoming a board member or top manager of a large company, you will not go to business school. Why would you waste money and time to study there? Better to go to the Academy of Home Economics. On the other hand, people who recruit women for jobs think, “I don’t think normal women go to business school.” A stereotype arises: there are no good women among top managers. In the world of business, they look around – there is not a single female top manager, which means that women are bad top managers. And this stereotype reinforces women’s unwillingness to do business. In other words, you are not initially investing in the education and skills you need to succeed in this area. Therefore, your success in this area is unlikely.

Critics of quota have such argument – in countries with developed economies, women are fully informed about traps with stereotypes. That is, they make a conscious, and not an immediate, choice of an “easy” profession.

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But the situation does not change with a wave of the hand. For you to have women mathematicians, stars, you need girls to start doing mathematics twenty years earlier. The main importance of quotas is precise that they create role models. That is why the gender agenda is needed in order to change the situation in the long term. Several years ago, the European Economic Association created a special medal for the best female economist – precisely to show role models to young economists.

Lead another argument. Women are frequently called unpaid work, there is a very big load on the care of relatives, on the household in a wide sense. Accordingly, they have less time for paid work. There is even the term “moral economy” which proceeds from that a woman is obliged to spend a lot of time for the family.

The situation has changed dramatically over the past decade, with homework becoming more automated and less time-consuming. And in this sense, the richer the country, the more dishwashers and microwave ovens you have, and the more accessible to you, relatively speaking, ordering food, shopping on the Internet, and so on. In this sense, in rich countries, housework itself becomes less burdensome and does not require anything that “a woman should know” and “a man cannot know.” You can look up the recipe online or order food online regardless of gender.

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter