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. Behavioural design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organisations 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 level the playing field in business, showing what can be done—often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed – to eliminate gender bias for good.
Iris Bohnet’s new book, What Works: Gender Equality by Design is built on new insights into the human mind, drawing on data collected by companies, universities, and governments in Australia, India, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, and other countries, often in randomised controlled trials. It points out dozens of evidence-based interventions that could be adopted right now and demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias, improving lives and performance. Easy changes, such as removing portraits of men from boardrooms, changing the way we interview, and removing names from CVs can all help to eliminate gender-based bias, particularly in industries that are historically male-dominated.
“Right up to board level, companies should find in What Works not only food for thought, but a guide for effective practical action as well.” —Sarah Gordon, Financial Times
Iris Bohnet is Professor of Public Policy and the director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is also the co-chair of the Behavioural Insights Group (BIG) at the Center for Public Leadership at HKS, an associate director of the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory and the faculty chair of the executive program Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century for the World Economic Forums Young Global Leaders. A behavioural economist combining insights from economics and psychology, her research focuses on questions of trust and decision-making, often with a gender or cross-cultural perspective. Professor Bohnet teaches decision-making, negotiation and gender in public policy and leadership in degree and executive programs, and has been engaged in the teaching, training and consulting of private and public sector leaders in the United States, Europe, India and the Middle East.