Men are more likely to be seen as 'brilliant' than women, and it's preventing gender equality at work, a study found

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Despite decades of efforts to combat gender inequality in the workplace, people are more likely to associate the trait of brilliance with men over women, according to a new study.
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A study found that people were more likely to associate the trait of brilliance with men over women.

Researchers conducted tests to see who automatically associated brilliance with men and found that at least 70% of participants saw some association with men and brilliance.

The study had 3,618 participants and went on for about four years.

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The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, involved five experiments in which over 3,000 people from 78 countries, including American children between nine and 10, were surveyed on what gender they most associated with "brilliance" (defined as "high level intellectual ability").

Few participants directly associated men with brilliance, but the surveys revealed 70% to 75% of people had "implicit bias" that suggested they more often associated brilliance with men than women.

"If people associate these traits that they see as essential for success with men more than women, then potentially, they're less likely to give women opportunities to succeed in these fields," study author Andrei Cimpian, associate professor in New York University's psychology department, told Insider.

Many of the participants wouldn't not directly associate men with brilliance, but testing revealed implicit bias

In recent years, Cimpian's lab has dedicated itself to investigating reasons why women are underrepresented in certain fields, like science, technology, engineering and maths, where traits like brilliance are valued.

A subject like this is complicated to research – while…
Shira Feder
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