Harvard Business School Launches New Gender Initiative

Some of the brightest researchers in the country are joining forces to tackle gender bias, Avengers­-style. Harvard Business School announced a new Gender Initiative last week “to support research, teaching, and knowledge dissemination that promotes gender equity in business and society.”The initiative will create a community around Harvard’s many academics already investigating gender issues, thereby increasing the collective impact of their work. It will be led by Robin Ely, the school’s Dean for Culture and Community, who has a long track record of research on gender bias in the business world.“One of the main goals Harvard Business School wants to achieve with the Gender Initiative is to ground discussions about gender in rigorous research so that people can make better-informed decisions for themselves, their families, their companies, and their communities,” Ely said. “So much of what people think they know about gender is simply not substantiated by empirical evidence but instead is based on gender stereotypes.”Harvard Business School’s efforts to improve gender equity among its students have seen mixed results, and were memorably profiled in The New York Times in 2013. The announcement about the new Gender Initiative did not mention whether or how students would be involved.