Louise's Feminist Musings

Notes on feminist news & issues

Kim Gets No Jobs Until He Puts ‘Mr’ on His CV: and here’s why we need quota for women (+ more about bias and language)


Somewhere after the four month mark my confidence was starting to take a hit. The people rejecting me were business people too, how could my reasoning that I was perfect for these jobs be so different to theirs? Putting on my most serious business head I went back and scoured my CV. It was the only contact any of my potential employers or their recruitment companies had had with me. My CV was THE common denominator and if something was wrong it MUST be there.[…]

My first name is Kim. Technically its gender neutral but my experience showed that most people’s default setting in the absence of any other clues is to assume Kim is a women’s name. And nothing else on my CV identified me as male. At first I thought I was being a little paranoid but engineering, trades, sales and management were all definitely male dominated industries. So I pictured all the managers I had over the years and, forming an amalgam of them in my mind, I read through the document as I imagined they would have. It was like being hit on the head with a big sheet of unbreakable glass ceiling.

My choice to brand the CV with a bold positioning of my name actually seemed to scream that I was a woman. I could easily imagine many of the people I had worked for discarding the document without even reading further. If they did read further the next thing they saw (as politeness declared at the time) was a little personal information, and that declared I was married with kids. I had put this in because I knew many employers would see it as showing stability, but when I viewed it through the skewed view of middle aged men who thought I was a woman, I could see it was just further damning my cause. I doubt if many of the managers I had known would have made it to the second page.

I made one change that day. I put Mr in front of my name on my CV. It looked a little too formal for my liking but I got an interview for the very next job I applied for. And the one after that. It all happened in a fortnight and the second job was a substantial increase in responsibility over anything I had done before. In the end I beat out a very competitive short-list and enjoyed that job for the next few years, further enhancing my career.

And here’s a study that shows equally qualified female applicants are rated lower than male applicants:


Here’s another one (it links to a pdf):


I am just googling and found these immediately (so if you want more, just google on gender bias). I was actually googling for a study where they changed the name from Jennifer to Peter and saw a clear gender bias, but I can’t find it now (unless it is accidentally the same one as one of those I linked, I am not sure whether the names were Jennifer and Peter)

And here’s something else entirely: the use of male-type words in job advertisements makes the job less attractive for women to apply. It’s a more subtle type of gender discrimination. Interesting as well.


While I’m at it: here’s one about gender differences in use of language (have no idea about validity of source, I just googled, saw it and linked it). One of the findings is that men interrupt women frequently in conversation.
And don’t we all experience that.
It says somewhere that two hypotheses are considered,  one where men are dominant and one where men and women have two cultures that simply misunderstand eachother.
I am not sure whether one excludes (or is even different from) the other because as you can see the man-culture thinks feminine traits (the women-culture’s features) are weak. So when mixed, the men start to dominate because they think the women are weak.
I don’t really see a huge difference between the hypothes if you think that the differences in culture had to come from somewhere…..like learned behavior from parents and teachers and culture surrounding kids etc……doesn’t everyone teach girls to be nice and boys to be bad, installing this man-culture and women-culture? Boys and girls don’t come out of the womb with any cultural code engrained and they don’t pick it up because they only spend time with other kids of the same sex and form the culture on their own. Furthermore, it is taught to kids of both sexes by fathers and mothers alike (and other adults from both genders), so apparently parents of both cultures are aware of the other culture’s codes of behavior, showing that any misinderstanding between these two cultures can not be very deep.



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