Achieving meritocracy—the idea that people advance in work and life based on ability—is complicated. Well-intentioned efforts to implement meritocracy in schools and the workplace can actually have the opposite effect.
MIT Sloan professors Emilio Castilla and Denise Lewin Loyd present research that details how even simple attempts to instill meritocracy and inclusion in an organization can become fraught with complexity.
Castilla calls it “The Paradox of Meritocracy in Organizations,” whereby promoting an institution as a meritocracy can actually have some “unintended consequences of increased bias.”
In some of his experiments, he found that managers who were embedded in organizations that emphasized meritocracy actually showed greater bias against women, for example.
In the “Men behaving splendidly” session at the APA, there was some discussion of what percentage of women should we push for. Elizabeth Harman made a strong and important point; it was roughly this: When we give conferences we are educating the next generation, so we should have 50 % women philosophy speakers.
Whatever the right numbers, it is a very safe bet that a conference without women speakers, or with a very small minority of them, is not encouraging women to participate in philosophy.
But, you might say, you don’t think badly of women philosophers; you may an effort to include some, but it doesn’t always work out. Well, read below; in some ways it makes points made at the APA, but briefly and directly:
In a study I conducted among white workers, I found that 70% of the participants’ jobs, past and present…
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