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What Works

Gender Equality by Design

Iris Bohnet



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The Belknap Press
08 March 2016

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, author of Give and Take and Originals ?

A pathbreaking work, packed with insights on every page? The best book ever written on behavioral science and discrimination.??

Cass Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge A Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award Finalist 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 Kingdom, 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 and demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias, improving lives and performance. What Works shows what more can be done?often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed.
By:   Iris Bohnet
Imprint:   The Belknap Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Edition:   1
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 33mm
Weight:   454g
ISBN:   9780674089037
ISBN 10:   0674089030
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   08 March 2016
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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.

Reviews for What Works: Gender Equality by Design

Iris Bohnet has not only managed to successfully explain how gender bias exists in all of us, she then goes on to provide straightforward, practical suggestions to overcome the suboptimal status quo. A groundbreaking book with solutions that every institution and corporation should implement in their quest for high performance.--Carol Schwartz, Founding Chair, Women's Leadership Institute Australia Professor Bohnet has written a pathbreaking book documenting how unconscious biases and stereotypes are pervasive barriers to gender equality. The book combines brilliant insights from behavioral research with practical recommendations about how to design policies and organizations to counter these biases and accelerate progress toward gender parity. The moral case for gender parity is indisputable; the business case is compelling. Now Professor Bohnet has written a how-to manual, based on rigorous research, about how to achieve this goal.--Laura D. Tyson, Professor of Business Administration and Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business Fresh, scholarly, and illuminating. Iris Bohnet brings a new lens to gender discussion that will spark much-needed debate.--Tina Brown A handy manual about promoting gender in the workplace, which is up front about what works, and what doesn't.--Rebecca Smith Management Today (06/09/2016) True to its title, Iris Bohnet's timely book marshals evidence from proven research to designing interventions that actually work. A must-read for anyone trying to move the needle on gender diversity.--Herminia Ibarra, Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, INSEAD To blindly assume that sexism is a thing of the past is to fly in the face of the wealth of modern-day experimental evidence presented in this fascinating book... From the boardroom to the classroom, this book outlines a set of tools that we need to design organizations in a way that sets us free from unconscious gender bias... Bohnet's book is a call to action--and it is one that organizations cannot afford to ignore.--Victoria Bateman Times Higher Education (03/10/2016) Drawing on a deep well of research and expertise, Iris Bohnet's new book gives companies a practical and invaluable toolkit for designing a gender-equal culture. Her business case for action is so compelling that it should be required reading for every corporate leader.--Fr d ric Roz , President and CEO, L'Or al USA Thoroughly evidence-based and intensely practical. This book will provide employers with ways to think about what changes they can and should be making to address unintentional discrimination in the workplace, and how such changes would benefit everyone.-- (04/01/2016) If you think you have no gender bias, you should read this book. It will surprise you. Bohnet uses hard evidence to show that complacency about gender equality is dangerous because bias in the workplace remains widespread, entrenched and destructive. Sometimes depressing, always compelling, this work makes it clear how much work has yet to be done.-- (05/19/2016) Despite so many improvements, gender equality in the workplace (let alone in other parts of life) often seems like a chimera: something that exists only in imagination and is not possible in reality...Bohnet presents the science; we no longer have to think that it is all in our imagination. Read the book. Act on it. Make gender equality a reality.-- (10/03/2016) [Bohnet's] straightforward tools for designing inclusive and diverse workplaces and institutions are a boon to anyone who hopes to study, work, and live in an atmosphere of openness and civility.--Kavita Nandini Ramdas Stanford Social Innovation Review (06/01/2016) This book is easy to follow with helpful summaries and an inspiring finish. I would highly recommend that anyone who manages people gives it a go. It is stuffed with experiments and data drawn from all over the world...This is a must-have guide for anyone in charge of a diversity budget.-- (03/02/2016) Bohnet elegantly and expansively demonstrates how [subconscious] biases can be obstacles to gender equality. What sets her approach apart in an increasingly crowded field of gender-equality literature is her use of behavioral design to offer practical--and often intuitive--solutions...She leads through demonstration and design, leaving readers better equipped to find solutions that work, so we can each contribute to making a difference.-- (03/01/2016) This is a persuasive manual for anyone seeking to eliminate unconscious biases--in recruitment and management--that perpetuate imbalances between men and women. Bohnet offers invaluable, research-based guidance about how to design and run organizations that are not only fairer, but better.-- (12/02/2016) This in-depth exploration of gender bias offers practical examples of what you can do to ensure your business hires and retains the best talent.--HR Magazine (04/01/2017) 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) 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) A practical guide for any employer seeking to offset the unconscious bias holding back women in organizations, from orchestras to internet companies. -- (08/07/2016) 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) 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 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 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 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) 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 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 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! 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) 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 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 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 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) 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 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 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

  • Nominated for Cheiron Book Prize 2017
  • Nominated for Pulitzer Prizes 2017
  • Nominated for Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award 2017
  • Short-listed for Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2016
  • Shortlisted for Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2016.

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