A classic riddle:

A father and son have a car accident and are both badly hurt. They are both taken to separate hospitals. When the boy is taken in for an operation, the surgeon says 'I can not do the surgery because this is my son'. How is this possible?

Yes, most of us have heard this one before, and for those that don’t know, the answer is that the doctor is the boy’s mother. Seems obvious now that we know the doctor was a woman--but why was it so hard to guess in the first place?

It’s no secret that today’s corporate world still suffers from these hidden prejudices and stereotypes, ones that like the riddle above, center on centuries of gender inequality. Even aside from the substantial pay gap that exists in almost every occupation, Yale research studies have shown that even with the exact same resumes, men are much more likely to be perceived as competent, get hired and receive mentorship regardless of gender of the evaluator. This pervasive influence of prejudice extends to race as well. Similar studies have shown that with identical resumes, evaluators prefer traditionally white names over traditionally African American sounding names. These damaging stereotypes prove particularly problematic in today’s increasingly diverse world.

Recently, Google published their employment statistics--even with their emphasis on diversity, 70% of their employees are men. Moreover, together, Asian and Caucasians make up 91% of Google’s work force. It would seem that the modern hiring and recruiting processes could use some help.

Belinda, Intern (Summer 2014)