New app launched which can determine if job descriptions are sexist
Category: Industry News, equality, technology, Employee, job, algorithm, bias
A new app has been created that determines if job descriptions are sexist or not.
The creator of Gender Decoder launched the app after reading studies that showed how adverts with masculine wording discouraged women from applying for jobs.
Kat Matfield is a Service Designer and Product Manager at Adaptive Lab. She created Gender Decoder to help employers create job adverts without gender-biased language.
She explains on the app’s website: “Without realising it, we all use language that is subtly ‘gender-coded’. Society has certain expectations of what men and women are like, and how they differ, and this seeps into the language we use. Think about “bossy” and “feisty”: we almost never use these words to describe men.
“This linguistic gender-coding shows up in job adverts as well, and research has shown that it puts women off applying for jobs that are advertised with masculine-coded language.”
She refers to a study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology 2011. The study showed that women are discouraged from applying to jobs if the adverts use masculine language. However, men seem to not be affected if a job description uses feminine words like “considerate”, “understand” and “loyal”.
The study showed that job adverts in male-dominated fields usually contained masculine words and phrases. “Active”, “outspoken” and “decisive” are three examples of male wordings that may put of women from applying to a job.
Matfield used the study’s list of most feminine-coded and most masculine-coded words to create Gender Decoder. The app’s algorithm then counts the number of gender-coded words to determine if there is a bias in any direction.
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