Women in tech suffer because of American myth of meritocracy

Banu Ozkazanc-Pan, Brown University.

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Will they disrupt the tech sector? (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

 

The American dream is built on the notion that the U.S. is a meritocracy. Americans believe success in life and business can be earned by anyone willing to put in the hard work necessary to achieve it, or so they say.

Thus, Americans commonly believe that those who are successful deserve to be so and those who aren’t are equally deserving of their fate – despite growing evidence that widening inequalities in income, wealth, labor and gender play a major role in who makes it and who doesn’t.

And this very fact – that Americans believe their society is a meritocracy – is the biggest threat to equality, particularly when it comes to gender, as research by myself and others shows.

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Spotlight on Meritocracy: Does Charity Need to Pay More for Top Talent?

By Michelle Kweder, Maureen Scully and Gerald Denis.

Recently, a TED Talk by Dan Pallotta set the blogosphere on fire, with a hopeful call for how non-profits can ramp up to a new level of operations and impact.  Many people were inspired that the non-profit sector was at last being seen for its worthiness and bigger potential.  But some people worried about what sounded like corporatizing the non-profit sector – in a world where corporatization has yielded many of the societal problems that non-profits are now left to mop up. Continue reading