When Talking About Bias Backfires, by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg

“A FATHER and his son are in a car accident. The father is killed and the son is seriously injured. The son is taken to the hospital where the surgeon says, ‘I cannot operate, because this boy is my son.’

“This popular brain teaser dates back many years, but it remains relevant today; 40 to 75 percent of people still can’t figure it out. Those who do solve it usually take a few minutes to fathom that the boy’s mother could be a surgeon. Even when we have the best of intentions, when we hear ‘surgeon’ or ‘boss,’ the image that pops into our minds is often male.

“Our culture’s strong gender stereotypes extend beyond image to performance, leading us to believe that men are more competent than women. Managers — both male and female — continue to favor men over equally qualified women in hiring, compensation, performance evaluation and promotion decisions. This limits opportunities for women and deprives organizations of valuable talent.”
Read more: When Talking About Bias Backfires, by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg, NY Times, December 6, 2014