Lies, damn lies and gendered statistics

A Gallup poll released today claims that both men and women prefer male bosses. Or at least that’s what the headline says. The actual story, in my opinion, is that about half of the population doesn’t care. Or they know enough to say that they don’t care, even if they do (ah, these social norms following me everywhere). According to the poll, a little more than half of those polled had a preference, and a little less than half did not. Of that half that had a preference, yes, more preferred a male boss, but that doesn’t mean that Americans prefer male bosses, as the first line of the story claims. It means that if they’re willing to state a preference, they prefer male bosses.

So, here’s a little story rewrite for you. “About half of Americans have no preference concerning the gender of their boss. Of those that do have a preference, 40% prefer female bosses. This is a huge gain over the first such poll that was taken in 1953 when only 5% of Americans stated a preference for female bosses. In the intervening six decades, preference for female bosses has increased more than four-fold.”

Yes, I’m being both terse and a little bit snarky, etc, etc, etc.


Author: ekfletch

I am an independent researcher on issues of gender, labor, violence, education, and children.

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