“We can make categorization by race go away, but we could never make gender categorization go away,” said John Tooby, a scholar at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who ran the experiment. Looking at the challenges that black and female candidates face in overcoming unconscious bias, he added, “Based on the underlying psychology and anthropology, I think it’s more difficult for a woman, though not impossible.”
Alice Eagly, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, agrees: “In general, gender trumps race. ... Race may be easier to overcome.”
The challenge for women competing in politics or business is less misogyny than unconscious sexism: Americans don’t hate women, but they do frequently stereotype them as warm and friendly, creating a mismatch with the stereotype we hold of leaders as tough and strong. So voters (women as well as men, though a bit less so) may feel that a female candidate is not the right person for the job because of biases they’re not even aware of.
“I don’t have to be conscious of this,” said Nilanjana Dasgupta, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. “All I think is that this person isn’t a good fit for a tough leadership job.”
from NYT April 7, 2008 My Racist, Sexist Self, Nicholas Kristof
What do you think? Is gender prejudice harder to overcome that racial prejudice?