Monday, June 17, 2019

Correct Gender Bias in Product Attributions

When a craft beer is described on the label as brewed by a woman, it’s rated less highly than when described as brewed by a man. Stanford University researchers say the explanation lies in how consumers assign gender associations to products. The quality rating was a composite score of how likely the rater was to buy the beer, how much they’d be willing to pay for it, and how good they expected the beer to taste. The lower rating for woman-crafted beer was seen among the male and the female respondents.
     Consumers of both sexes think of beer, hand tools, and auto parts, as primarily masculine. They think of cupcakes, dolls, and body moisturizers as primarily feminine. Dinner rolls, soup, and coffee are gender neutral.
     These stereotyping effects are not limited to merchandise. Female concert music will sound better when conducted by a woman, and male concert music sounds better when conducted by a man.
     Male and female concert music? Yes, those listening to recordings of unfamiliar music with decisive rhythms and dynamics judged it as sounding better when told the conductor was male than when told the conductor was female. With music having delicate rather than decisive qualities, the participants in these University of Southern California and Ohio State University studies gave higher ratings if told the conductor was female.
     How to overcome the bias? One approach is to provide quality ratings. In the Stanford studies, the disadvantage for woman-crafted beer faded when the label identified the beer as having won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. In the concert conductor studies, the effect disappeared among study participants who, before listening to the music, were convinced that the conductor—whether female or male—was highly competent. The rating of the powerful music no longer depended on the supposed gender of the provider.
     This indicates that gender stereotypes at the retail level can be sidestepped by you establishing competence as early in the process as possible.
     Based on results from Babson College country-of-origin studies, having the consumer actually sample the product before gender attribution also might work. If a wine-taster was given country-of-origin information before sipping, those tasting an “Italian” wine rated the product as having higher quality than those tasting the wine from “India,” a region not strongly associated with quality wines. If the information was given after the sip, the effect was actually reversed.

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Click for more…
Precede Gender Attributions with Competence
Delay Negative Stereotypes to Post-Experience

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