Gender Bias Bingo

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | November 2, 2009 10:51 am

Last week, this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education hit my inbox from a reader named ‘Basma’. And then from ‘Jessica’ followed by ‘Cheyanne’. The link continued trickling in over the weekend… Apparently readers are aware I occasionally have something to say about gender bias in academia (and out and somewhere in the space between). My friends ’round these tangled series of tubes don’t put up with that sort of riffraff either. The piece begins like this:

As a female professor, are you called rude and abrasive while your male colleagues who make similar statements are simply labeled assertive? Has your department head discouraged you from taking an assignment, saying that because you have children you might not be able to handle it?

If things like that have happened to you, yell: “Bingo!”

The Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law is unveiling a new online game on Thursday called Gender Bias Bingo. The game is intended for women, although men who have overheard biased statements or have faced bias because they are fathers can also play.

Clicking the link led me to:

Picture 5

Visitors to this site are asked to choose a square and submit a representative story or quote from their experiences. The goal is to teach more of us to recognize gender bias while demonstrating the ways it can push women away from an academic career path. Director Joan C. Williams also explains the noteworthy economic angle:

“It does not make economic sense, particularly in these economic conditions, to keep recruiting women and then keep driving them out,” says Ms. Williams, who points out that a start-up package for a research scientist can cost as much as $1-million. “There had never been built, as far as I could tell, a clear explanation of why it’s cheaper to keep her.”

While it’s too early to tell how the mission of Gender Bias Bingo will play out, it’s certainly a unique new initiative. Not only does the game highlight the myriad of struggles facing women in the ivory towers, but it serves as a kind of tangible record–a visible means to display the ugly marks left across academia by such behavior. In a small way, this might reflect that gender bias is less acceptable than ever. At least, I hope so.

What do readers think?

MORE ABOUT: Gender bias bingo

Comments (8)

Links to this Post

  1. Bias Bingo: Blending Branding and Learning | November 4, 2009
  1. HA HA HA! Can I have all of the squares?

  2. Wil

    Gender bias against women in education? You must be joking. In the U.S., the large majority of liberal arts teachers and professors are women. Most of the presidents of the Ivy League universities are women. Depending on the college, between 55% and 72% of ALL graduates are women. Despite male students overwhelmingly favoring participation in sports, 68% of all sports scholarships now go to women, and 60% of all collage atheletes are women.

    For about 15 years now, high schools and universities across the country have very aggressively and systematically discriminated against male students, teachers and professors. It is profoundly and sickenly sexist and hateful.

    I suspect you only tolerate hearing the tired, vastly overworked story about poor, noble, helpless women being victimized by evil, horrible men, but that ship turned around years ago, and it is now sailing in the opposite direction at top speed.

  3. I had the over/under at 5 comments before someone claimed that men were more oppressed than women. Looks like the under takes the day.

  4. Skeptic

    Wil raises a good point. Is discrimination against men reported and talked about as much as discrimination against women?

  5. Gender bias is instutionalized through quotas for women students and professors. Inverse exclusionary quotas persist widely against Asian and Jewish heterosexual males, who show success out of proportion to their population.

    Feminist appeals for ‘equality’ is a quota demand for at least 50% outcomes favouring women.

    Extensive evidence is available about innate male and female intellectual characteristics. … Studies of intelligence and sex consistently show a significant male advantage, increasing exponentially beyond the mean.

    Feminists flaunt girls’ elevated GPAs (but not SAT, GRE, etc.) as proof that girls lead boys in ‘maturity’ and learning ability. Boys’ IQ begins to surpass girls at age 14. Higher female GPAs indicate that competence is subverted to social engineering.

    In “Why g Matters,” Linda Gottfredson estimates that a minimum of IQ 120 is needed to be competitive in “high-level” jobs “… [and] the probability is that only 37% of the workforce at that level will be female”.[i] At IQ 130 (+2SD), males comprise 82%; IQ 145 (+3SD), 88% and at IQ 160 (+4SD), associated with genius, males comprise 97%.

    Helmuth Nyborg explains, “Proper methodology identifies a male advantage in g that increases exponentially at higher levels, relates to brain size and [partially] explains the universal male dominance in society.”

    Scores on the SAT, GRE, LSAT and similar knowledge and ability tests show a male advantage, on verbal and wider on mathematics scores. That sex gap persists despite over thirty years of ‘gender-norming’ of test questions, to inflate female scores – founded in the testers’ presumption of equal intelligence.[ii] Previous to 1990, the male test advantage was higher. Either, over thirty years, males have lost g and become less intelligent, females conversely, or those tests are increasingly sex-rigged.

    Charles Murray in “Human Accomplishment” offers Lotka Curve and other analyses, showing women comprise less than 2.2 percent of ‘Significant Figures,’ over 2750 years. Women’s achievements are mostly based in contributions to Western and Japanese literature and art.

    Women rank as 4.4% (n=35) of Nobel Prize laureates, with 66% of their awards in literature and peace. Nineteen Prizes were won by organizations. The remaining 744 prizes were earned by men. All cultures and civilizations, throughout history, without exception, were fostered and advanced by Patriarchy.

    Ongoing suppression of male abilities and creativity bode grave consequences for the West.

    [i] Gottfredson, L. S. (1997). Why g matters: The complexity of everyday life. Intelligence, 24(1), 79-132.

    [ii] From Nyborg, ff. 6, “Jackson (2002) suggested that because test constructors such as himself and the Educational Testing Service (which developed the SAT) often eliminate items showing marked sex differences in order to reduce the perception of bias, it is possible that the results reported here might be a lower-bound estimate of the “true” sex difference.”

  6. magistramorous

    Role incongruity is real. When Michelle Obama spoke about it, many women around the world sympathized with her:

    Still, this doesn’t give people an excuse to assume that a woman couldn’t do a stellar job of both and it doesn’t give men an excuse to not help out a little more with the parenting. Right now, the default seems to be for a woman to let her husband pursue his high-flying career while she takes care of the kids. This is one thing keeping women behind. Another is something I learned on Charlie Rose, which is that successful women tend to marry “up”- no one knows why. Where’re all the sugar mamas? I could use one right now!

  7. Sylvia Ann Hewlett is Right

    Bingo!! Bingo!!

    Where’s my prize?

    Oh, yeah, poverty in retirement strongly correlated with motherhood.



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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry.Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.comFor more information, visit her website or email Sheril at


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