Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and de-biasing people’s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Diversity training programs have had limited success, and individual effort alone often invites backlash. Behavioral design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts. Presenting research-based solutions, Iris Bohnet hands us the tools we need to move the needle in classrooms and boardrooms, in hiring and promotion, benefiting businesses, governments, and the lives of millions.
What Works is built on new insights into the human mind. It draws on data collected by companies, universities, and governments in Australia, India, Norway, the United States, Zambia, and other countries, often in randomized controlled trials. It points out dozens of evidence-based interventions that could be adopted right now. Some are already in place.
For example, a curtain concealing the gender of musicians during audition vastly increases the talent available to orchestras. Smarter evaluation procedures help organizations hire and promote the best instead of those who look the part. Redesigned tests, such as the SAT in the United States, no longer favor risk-takers; counter-stereotypical politicians in India affect what people believe possible; and transparency helps build diverse boards in the United Kingdom. A wealth of evidence-based examples like these demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias and improving lives and performance, and what more can be done?often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed.
About the Author
Iris Bohnet is a behavioral economist, Professor and Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
What Works is a call to action. It demonstrates with real-life examples, such as the introduction of blind auditions into the world of symphony orchestras, how the seemingly intractable problem of gender inequality can be not only addressed but solved. This book is a gift.--Deborah Borda, President and CEO, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl Association
Compelling, lucid, and filled with actionable insights, What Works draws from a deep well of research to explain how we can end gender inequality.--Adam Grant, Class of 1965 Wharton Professor of Management and Professor of Psychology at the Wharton School and author of Give and Take and Originals
Right up to board level, companies should find in What Works not only food for thought [about gender bias], but a guide for effective practical action as well.--Sarah Gordon"Financial Times" (02/12/2016)
If you really want equality, here is a guide to action. No more excuses; we know how to design. Bohnet is brilliant and practical, and she documents what works. Everyone who read Thinking, Fast and Slow and Nudge and cares about equality will want to consume this masterpiece.--Max Bazerman, Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School
If you want to solve gender inequality, read What Works. Then follow the compelling, insightful suggestions Iris Bohnet provides. This is a book you will return to again and again, for this is a book that changes everything.--Urs Rohner, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Credit Suisse
What Works is a brilliant breakthrough guide to closing the gender gap. Iris Bohnet connects research-based insights from many nations that are tackling this vital issue to show how biased minds can be nudged to make unbiased choices, and how small changes can have big impact. Her book provides essential leadership lessons for designing a more equitable and more productive world.--Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and best-selling author of Men and Women of the Corporation, Confidence, and MOVE
What Works is one of those rare books that will cause me to act differently. Confronting me with common situations and arming me with practical recommendations, Iris Bohnet challenged my ingrained beliefs and behavior. Brava!--Severin Schwan, CEO, Roche Group
What Works serves both as a clear indication of where we currently stand and a guide as to how, institution by institution, we can nudge ourselves towards greater gender equality.--Nic Logan-Murray"LSE Review of Books" (05/25/2016)
Iris Bohnet's groundbreaking work will revolutionize the way governments and corporations approach gender equality in the workplace. Extraordinary.--Mirjam Staub-Bisang, CEO, Independent Capital Group, and author of Sustainable Investing for Institutional Investors
What Works delivers! I have long been inspired by Iris Bohnet's impressive research on gender bias. In this book, she has distilled years of work into practical approaches that any organization--business, education or government--can adapt to start changing the environments in which we all live, learn, and work. This is a must-read for everyone who actually wants to do something to address the stubborn and costly issue of gender inequality.--Beth A. Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy, Ernst & Young Global Limited
What Works is a fascinating and absorbing book, presenting dozens of research projects, case studies, and theories that address a wide range of gender equality problems...It offers thought-provoking (and empirically-researched) challenges to many of the mainstream notions and ideas that turn out to be rooted in bias, stereotypes, and other 'mind bugs that affect our judgment.'--Hans Rollmann"PopMatters" (02/29/2016)
In a field overflowing with opinions and 'gut feelings, ' What Works is a shining ray of truth and insight. Bohnet lays out the science behind what really drives--and prevents--gender inequality, and translates it into clear, easy-to-implement steps for achieving equality. A much needed book with precise, effective prescriptions for any environment.--Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations at Google and author of Work Rules!
Pathbreaking work, and packed with insights on every page. Bohnet has produced, at once, the best book ever written on behavioral science and discrimination, and a major contribution to behaviorally informed policymaking as a whole. Her book promises to change both private and public institutions--and to improve individual lives.--Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University and coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness
A game changer. In this brilliant and practical book, Bohnet explains how behavioral insights can collapse gender inequality in our lifetime. It's terrific.--Linda Babcock, James M. Walton Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University and coauthor of Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide
Bohnet is the world's leading expert at the intersection of behavioral science and gender equality. Her work moves effortlessly between laboratory studies and real world examples, and spells out the practical implications. Achieve equity; enhance profit; and beat your rivals--and be gripped along the way.--David Halpern, author of Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
Provides a useful introduction to all the available evidence showing there is a business, as well as moral, case for diversity. What Works speaks to CEOs in a language they will understand, taking the emotion out of the argument and making a pragmatic case for reshaping workplace norms to make women feel less alienated.-- (02/26/2016)
Bohnet assembles an impressive assortment of studies that demonstrate how organizations can achieve gender equity in practice...What Works is stuffed with good ideas, many equally simple to implement...In this era of the TEDification of every promising idea, Bohnet is refreshingly careful. She never overgeneralizes; she cautions about extrapolating from one group to another; and she acknowledges ignorance where data are lacking...The glory of this book is that Bohnet not only offers dozens of practical examples of how behavioral findings can be put to use but also demonstrates that moving toward equity need not be a zero-sum game in which as women gain, men lose...She makes trying out the new steps seem like an exhilarating project rather than an impossible one.-- (04/29/2016)
What Works is an out-of-the-box read. Full of facts, data and real-life evidence, it is a must read for those who want doable actions to ensure gender equality.-- (07/11/2016)
A practical guide for any employer seeking to offset the unconscious bias holding back
women in organizations, from orchestras to internet companies.