What Works

Step 1.

Are you biased? Take the test and find out:

Implicit Association Test

Step 2.

What can you do about bias? Learn more here:

What Works: Gender Equality by Design

What Works: Gender Equality by Design by WAPPP director, Iris Bohnet, outlines 36 research-driven interventions that can help us move the needle towards gender equality. Explore how we can build gender equality by changing environments, rather than mindsets.

Step 3.

How can you design around bias? Try these 5 interventions to start:

5 Things You Can Do

1. Use screens

Orchestras use screens to help evaluators focus on musicians' ability instead of their looks (read the study ➥). Managers in office settings can use “electronic curtains” to hide names on resumes or other information that can distract them from finding true talent.

2. Evaluate people comparatively

When we evaluate one candidate alone, our brain can’t help but compare the candidate to our own idea of what a desirable job applicant would look like. Unfortunately, this idea may be a stereotype and can prevent us from seeing the best candidate. Comparing two or more candidates to each other helps us concentrate on what matters most (read the study ➥).

3. Add portraits to your walls

Sometimes, the smallest details can help us create fair and friendly environments. In research experiments (read the study ➥), women who saw portraits of female leaders performed better on leadership tasks than those who did not. Hang up diverse portraits in your hallways and make everyone feel confident and welcome!

4. Make information simple, salient, and comparative

People are busy, information flies at them from many directions, competing for their limited attention. Remove barriers by presenting information in a simple, salient, and comparative way (read the study ➥). If you know what works, clearly indicate how your option compares to others and how it will impact people’s lives.

5. Set goals

Use rankings to motivate people to compete towards gender equality, as the WEF Gender Gap Report or the UN Gender Inequality Index do among countries. Set goals and make the successes of others notable and public, as the UK did to nudge more gender diversity on hits companies boards of directors.

Step 4.

How you can stay up to date on new insights:

Visit and Bookmark

Gender Action Portal
WAPPP’s Gender Action Portal (GAP) is a collection of summarized research evaluating the impact of specific policies, strategies, and organizational practices to close gender gaps in the areas of economic opportunity, politics, health, and education. GAP focuses on experimental approaches to evaluate policies – both in the field and in the laboratory – and draws from multiple disciplines, including economics, psychology, and organizational behavior. GAP serves as an online tool for decision makers across sectors to utilize evidence-based research in order to create better informed policies and procedures.

Behavioral Insights at Harvard
Launched in 2013 by faculty co-directors Iris Bohnet and Max Bazerman, the Behavioral Insights Group (BIG) brings together Harvard’s outstanding group of decision research scholars, behavioral economists, and other behavioral scientists to focus their energies on improving how decisions are made, both by leaders, and by individuals. BIG is driven by the belief that improving the quality of our leaders’ decisions is a core lever we possess to improve the world. When leaders and individuals make better decisions, an amazing array of changes can happen.

Women and Public Policy Program
Closing gender gaps by creating knowledge, training leaders and informing public policy and organizational practices, our research provides evidence-based insights on the role of gender in shaping economic, political and social opportunities available to individuals. We identify successful interventions and measure their impact on women, men, and society, then share recommendations on what policies, organizational practices and leadership techniques help close involuntary gaps. We train today’s leaders and prepare future leaders to create a more gender equal world, while providing women with skills and tools to successfully navigate existing systems. We draw on Harvard University’s unparalleled faculty expertise and its global reach to impact the thinking of those who make decisions across sectors.

Together, we can make a more gender equal world.

Step 5.

Have you used behavioral insights to create gender equality in your school, organization, or business? We'd love to hear how you did it and give others the opportunity to learn from you:

Share your story:

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New Research on the Gender Action Portal

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