discrimination against black men applying for jobs is notoriously prevalent in
the United States. It is commonly accepted that employers’ racial bias explains
disparities in how often black versus white men receive job offers. Seeing a black name on a résumé, for example, could activate a range of stereotypes
that depict young black men as aggressive, criminal, and violent, which are widely-known
in society and deeply rooted in our collective consciousness.
Not only can names
on a résumé activate stereotypes – but events that transpire in a neighborhood can
also influence people’s reliance on stereotypes, especially right after they
happen. For example, after a police officer is shot by a black suspect, other
police officers increase their use of force in routine
stops with black people.
There has been sizable growth in the population of mixed-race couples and their multiracial children in recent decades. Research indicates that these families tend to prefer living in racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods that are relatively affluent. The neighborhood preferences of mixed-race couples with children appear to be largely driven by a desire for their children to live in an area that accepts their children’s multiracial identity while providing them safety and amenities.
However, there is a problem that these families face in
finding diverse, higher income neighborhoods –there are not many of them. Indeed,
scholars highlight that diverse neighborhoods tend to be lower income. This
implies that some mixed-race couples with children encounter trade-offs between
diversity and affluence when they are searching for a home in a new
Where these diverse families ultimately choose to live has a number of important consequences. If mixed-race couples with children lean more toward moving to diverse neighborhoods, they can bolster already increasing levels of neighborhood diversity.
Like many other Western countries, the US has a substantial gender wage gap, much of which can potentially be attributed to a lack of affordable childcare options which tend to restrict mothers’ work opportunities far more than fathers’. Bethany A. Carter argues that policymakers should look to the former East Germany for potential solutions to this gap. There, she writes, the much smaller gender pay gap can be attributed to the area’s extensive, professional daycare system which has persisted because citizens value it.
During the fourth Democratic debate on October 16th, then presidential candidate and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke confronted Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on one of her key policy proposals: universal childcare. O’Rourke demanded to know whether American families would see a tax increase. Most of the discussion around this issue has centered on the cost of such a plan. And research has mainly focused on the short- and long-term benefits of childcare spending on children (i.e. a “child safety net”). But parents may benefit as much or more as their children.
Women face a double
bind when they are in leadership positions. They are expected to be competent
and authoritative, but others often see their authoritative behavior as overly dominant,
and a violation of gender stereotypes. In other words, women face a “dominance
penalty” when they act authoritatively, but they face questions about their
competence when they do not act authoritatively. Research has documented this
double bind in a number of settings, but these studies have by and large
focused on white women.
Recent research challenges the universality of the dominance penalty, and suggests that race and gender intersect to shape reactions to authoritative behavior. For example, recent studies have shown that in a professional workplace context, black women who demonstrate high levels of competence face less backlash when they behave authoritatively than do comparable white women or black men.
Access to stable housing is critical to the wellbeing of individuals and families. As rents have risen and wages have not kept pace, finding affordable housing in the U.S. has gotten harder. This is especially true for low-income families, who often spend more than half their income on rent.
The U.S. has a number of housing policies, like Housing Choice Vouchers, to help low-income families find and afford housing, but only about 25% of eligible households get assistance. Housing vouchers can also be challenging to use when landlords refuse to accept them. This led us to consider whether a different policy – the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – might help improve families’ housing situations. We wanted to know whether making the EITC more generous for low-income families might be another way to address the housing affordability crisis.
“The question I have is: do we really have a problem? Does [our company] have a problem? From the data I’ve seen, I don’t think so. I think the industry and this country potentially has a problem.”
This is what one high-level executive, Mike (pseudonyms used throughout), told me when I asked him about the causes of gender inequality in the technology industry.
In new research to be published in Gender & Society, I report on a year-long case study of a Silicon Valley technology company implementing a gender equality initiative. I explore how high-level executives’ explanations for inequality impact the change efforts they pursue. I find that executives tend to attribute responsibility to the broader society (as Mike does), or to individuals, rather than the organization.