U.K. Police Study Finds Gender Equality Training Ineffective

November 8, 2018

November 8, 2018: Many leaders opt for diversity training to counter stereotypes and old-school beliefs that can make it difficult for women to reach their full potential. In the U.K., police were concerned. They had investigated diversity in their large force and discovered that when female officers and staff reflected on their time being pregnant, only 39 percent felt supported by their managers.

The police called on social psychologist Tiina Likki and colleagues from UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center to create a more supportive environment for those female employees. The Likki team thought perspective taking might help. Perspective taking consists of imagining what other people are feeling and thinking. In lab experiments, it has improved communication, reduced the tendency for stereotyping and prejudice, and increased empathy. They designed a 15-minute, online perspective-taking task for line managers, asking them to imagine what it would be like to be a pregnant woman. In a randomized controlled trial with over 3,500 managers from the police force, they found no positive impact. In fact, the line managers who completed the perspective-taking task performed slightly worse in hypothetical scenarios asking how they would support female staff.

Read more: Why Gender Stereotypes Are So Hard to Fight at Work (

Why Your Gender Equality Training Won't Work (and What You Should Do Instead) (

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