Public Policy

Are You Biased against Women Leaders?

If asked, most of us would say that discrimination against women in the workplace is wrong and unacceptable. Unfortunately, research shows that treating women and men equally in hiring decisions, job evaluations, and leadership positions is more of an ideal than a reality. So if we agree that sex discrimination is wrong, why is it still happening? One answer is that many of us harbor unconscious biases that can affect our judgment, even though we may be unaware of them. Uncovering these unconscious, or implicit, biases can be the first step to eliminating them.

So how do we uncover them? AAUW has collaborated with Project Implicit and Harvard University researchers to create a test that looks at the mental associations we make between gender and a variety of concepts, many of which affect our beliefs about women in positions of leadership.

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2014-2016 AAUW of Virginia Public Policy Priorities

  • Gender equity in education, employment, pay, retirement benefits, and public appointments
  • Public funds for elementary and secondary education to be used only for schools that adhere to the civil rights and accountability standards required of public schools
  • Access to quality health care and family planning support, including individual choice in reproductive decisions and equity in women’s health research and treatment
  • Freedom from violence, bullying, sexual harassment, and human trafficking
  • Access to quality dependent care
  • Programs that provide women with education, training, and support for success in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, the work force, and society
  • Enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education
  • Enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including protection of voting rights

AAUW does not endorse any candidate running for public office, nor any political party. However, AAUW members frequently provide expert and interested party testimony at legislative committee hearings, school board meetings, and other forums at which the issues being discussed are related to AAUW’s mission. AAUW members are also active in voter registration drives, voter education efforts, panels, committees, seminars, letter-writing campaigns, and virtually every other means by which citizens can participate in the democratic process.