I found this part of the research the most difficult. Many participants who answered the open ended questions of the questionnaire wrote answers that were not applicable. When we released our questionnaire, we were investigating gender bias. As our project progressed, we started to investigate unconscious gender bias. Therefore, I feel that we didn’t ask the participants the right questions. From our questionnaire, we wanted to find out; if there is gender bias in third level education, if stereotypes exists and do they affect ones confidence, if males/females would apply for a job if they had 60% of the required skills.
The following facts stood out to me the most:
- Just over half (51.4%) of participants feel that students are not always seen as equal in third level education.
- 21.3% of participants feel that their gender has affected how their work has been valued.
- 13.6% of participants feel that there is gender bias in third level education.
- 47.6% of participants have experienced or witnessed a gender bias situation.
- Almost half (45.5%) of the participants agreed that Marriage/Wedding is more important to women. This intrigued me and I wanted to find out if one gender is more biased towards marriage than the other. I divided the participants into males and females and counted how many males and how many females agreed with this statement. 54.7% of females agreed that marriage/wedding is more important to women and only 35.4% of males agreed with this statement. This surprised me, because I thought that it would be neutral or the other way around.
- The majority (84.5%) of the participants would apply for a job if they had 60% of the required skills. However, 15.5% of the participants would not apply. This question is based on the Mc Kinsley (2017) report, which stated that females are less confident to apply for a job unless they have the majority (80% – 100%) of required skills. To investigated if this was true, from the 15.5% of participants who would not apply for the job, I divided them into male and female categories. I counted how many males and how many females stated that they would not apply and shockingly Mc Kinsley (2017) report was true. I found that 19% of females would not apply for the job due to lack of confidence compared to 4% males. One of the many quotes that stood out to me is: ”Would be scared of wasting time and rejection” and ”60% trained is just over half trained. How can one feel qualified with half training skills. I would feel grossly inadequate and embarrassed to approach a job with not enough skills”.
Analysing the data, the following themes themes were identified.
- Majority of participants perception of unconscious gender bias is not correct
- Some perceive gender bias as sexism
- Women are more reluctant to apply for a job due to a lack of confidence
- More women are gender biased towards marriage than men
- Construction is perceived as a male dominated industry
If I was to do this again, I would write down what exactly I want to find out and then design the questionnaire accordingly. I feel that we didn’t know what exactly we wanted to find out when we sent out the questionnaire. The questions we asked are very relevant and we received some great responses, however, I have come to realise that we wanted to find out to find out participant perception of unconscious gender bias and if it is correct as well as impacts that it could have on male and female students. Luckily, we realized this before we conducted the interviews. During the interviews, each participant was asked their perception of unconscious gender bias, if they think that males an females are affected differently and to share their unconscious gender bias experience. 3 out of 5 participants who were interviewed did not know what unconscious gender bias was and 1 out of 4 participant who understood what unconscious gender bias is, stated that it did not impact females differently to males.