This stereotype is often trotted out to explain the lack of equality between men and women in the world of business, but recent research completely disproves it.
One of the topics that never failed to arouse interest during the recent Diversity workshops organised at CERN was that of “unearned advantage”, or the relative ease with which doors open for certain people, simply because they belong to dominant (often majority) groups, as compared to others.
When I started working at CERN in 1976, women were a relatively rare sight. The few women who did work here generally held administrative roles, many having started with the incongruous job title of “scanning girls”, regardless of the age at which they had been recruited.
The “Gender in Physics” conference hosted by CERN last week showed that our Organization has been at the forefront of the drive towards gender equality in science over the last 20 years, with the launch of its Equal Opportunities Programme in 1996 leading the way.
Over the past two years, the Ombuds has seen double the number of cases involving women staff members compared to those involving men, relative to their populations. Two questions can thus be asked: is that a general phenomenon also seen in other organizations?