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dsr12 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite

"Kind" and "loyal" are feminine?

Oh this is codifying biases, effectively encoding sexism while pretending to be against it.

The "research paper" is just a collection of biases with no actual good results found(just shoehorned into the pre-determined narrative).

I admit I didn't read the whole 13-page research paper, but the summary sounded like it featured actual results:

Results indicated that job advertisements for male-dominated areas employed greater masculine wording (i.e., words associated with male stereotypes, such as leader, competitive, dominant) than advertisements within female-dominated areas. No difference in the presence of feminine wording (i.e., words associated with female stereotypes, such as support, understand, interpersonal) emerged across male- and female-dominated areas. Next, the consequences of highly masculine wording were tested across 3 experimental studies. When job advertisements were constructed to include more masculine than feminine wording, participants perceived more men within these occupations (Study 3), and importantly, women found these jobs less appealing (Studies 4 and 5). Results confirmed that perceptions of belongingness (but not perceived skills) mediated the effect of gendered wording on job appeal (Study 5). The function of gendered wording in maintaining traditional gender divisions, implications for gender parity, and theoretical models of inequality are discussed

This is really interesting. I put up the following weird job ad (not a real job ad). As I wrote it, I strongly imagined a man (to influence my choice of words):

>We are looking for an experienced frontend and backend developer, who is able to advise on architectural choices, gather and discuss requirements, make recommendations, and after approval personally implement solutions using the technologies of their choice. The ideal candidate will have already led a team, recruited junior and senior level developers, trained new developers, and should understand the market implication of choosing certain technologies as it relates to the cost of scaling the team. A mix of agile development practices with well thought out architectural planning is expected. IoT systems development experience is a plus.

You can see the results here:


Despite my methodology of strongly imagining a man, the gender decoder gave me the following result:

>This advert is feminine-coded

>This job ad uses more words that are subtly coded as feminine than words that are subtly coded as masculine (according to the research).

It specifically said:

>No masculine-coded words were found.


>Feminine-coded words in this ad



I will open up a bit here (hence the throwaway). Actually I personally have trouble imagining a woman coder who has this kind of leadership experience with technology combined with personally coding experience of the type described. (I've never met one.)

I expect to have an extremely strong personal bias: if I got an application from someone named Julia, I would have a first impression that they are unlikely to really make the kind of deep architectural design choices I want them to make. My impression would be that they don't know what they're doing (essentially they have to prove otherwise). I would be less likely to trust them to select and train developers who are later hired for their team.

Let me put it this way: if I got fifty applications and didn't have more information than "I fit the description and have done this, when can we talk" I would "imagine" (bias) more into the obviously male candidates than the obviously female candidates, if the information I have in front of me does not actually mention it. In other words I'm actually legitimately biased.

Despite all this, apparently I coded the advertisement in a feminine way.

I think this shows that the tool is a poor judge of job ad bias. It does not identify genuine, very strong biases. Biases that will keep a woman from getting a call, if she deserves it. Biases that will keep her architectural suggestions from being taken as seriously as if a man had made them.

I'm sexist and this tool does not identify this. This makes it a poor tool.


actually the tool should have identified "led" as "masculine-coded" because it is on their list: http://gender-decoder.katmatfield.com/about#masculine However the list encoded it as "lead" so didn't identify this word.

The tool looks for words that might affect the gender ratio among applicants. It's possible to be thinking masculine while writing a job description but still use language that won't discourage feminine applicants.

I'm curious why lead/led/leader/leadership are masculine-coded words when most people grow up in an environment where the primary authority they interact with is their mother.

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