Privilege benefits men more than women in hiring

Robin Boch, Associate Views Editor

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Recent studies have proven that privilege and gender have a disturbing effect on many companies’ hiring processes. Resumes for males that suggest the candidate is privileged have the highest success rate. Those of privileged females are almost always turned away. It may be understandable that in today’s society a good mix of connections, wealth and class often helps people get jobs. It is alarming, however, that while privilege aids men, it actually hinders women who are trying to advance in the workplace.

Lauren Rivera of Northwestern University and András Tilcsik of the University of Toronto sent fake resumes to over 300 law firms in America to explore the interaction of privilege and gender. These resumes were divided into four categories: privileged males, less-privileged males, privileged females and less-privileged females. In order to distinguish which candidates came from higher socioeconomic classes, they noted interests and awards on candidates’ resumes that represented those generally associated with higher class, such as polo, classical music and prestigious athletic awards, and those associated with lower classes, such as track and field, country music and financial aid awards.

The result of this study was that the resumes of privileged men received a call-back rate of four times more than all other groups combined and that the resumes of privileged women had a lower success rate than those of less-privileged women. These results make it clear that privileged women are generally perceived as being the least committed to their careers, which Rivera refers to as “the female commitment penalty.” Employers of elite firms and corporations expect that women would be likely to get married, become stay-at-home mothers and quit their jobs, even if they do receive a position.

In a country with a women presidential candidate and where people pride themselves on having a constitution that is based on equality, it is concerning that women continue to be perceived in this way. People may argue that gender does not determine one’s opportunity for success, as plenty of women advance to higher and more notable positions than men do.

Rivera’s studies, however, have made it clear that females, especially those who come from wealthy backgrounds, are generally perceived as uncommitted and solely focused on the future of their family rather than their career. It is evident that companies and firms value a combination of privilege and masculinity, which needs to end now to ensure that gender and socioeconomic class are no longer major determinants of success.

Robin is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]