Studies that expect to find discrimination against women often find discrimination against men instead

May 16, 2020

Has anyone noticed that there is a lot of research where the authors expected to find evidence of discrimination against women, but instead found evidence of discrimination against men?

Sometimes they take it gracefully and report their results in good faith. But other times they make excuses for it or try to cover it up.

The following is a list of 13 examples ranging from hiring discrimination, domestic violence, educational discrimination, and child custody discrimination.

A study about employment discrimination against women and mothers instead uncovered discrimination against men and fathers

One study on hiring discrimination looked at the effects of marriage and parental status on a person's hiring prospects. They expected to find discrimination against women and against mothers specifically. What they found instead was that in every cohort, women were preferred over men. Whether single, married, childless, or with children. Instead of reporting on this novel finding, they instead went into detail about how pregnant women are discriminated against compared to non-pregnant women, which they try to frame as being sexist against women.

The fact that they found that women were preferred over men is buried inside of the body of the study, buffered by handwaving remarks about how pregnant women still face other difficulties related to employment (which I'm sure is valid but they straight up sound salty about the fact that their own research contradicted what they expected to find).

You can read the full text of the study here:

Becker, S. O., Fernandes, A., & Weichselbaumer, D. (2019). Discrimination in hiring based on potential and realized fertility: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment. Labour Economics, 59, 139-152.

A study about domestic violence against women finds that men are more likely to be victims than women

A 2005 study on domestic violence wrote their entire abstract in a way that implies that domestic violence is significantly worse against women than against men. But the actual body of their research reports the exact opposite of that. A fact that other researchers eventually discovered and wrote about. While not strictly about discrimination, they are guilty of expecting to find that things were worse for women when in reality it's men who appear to be disproportionately effected.

[A] recent study found that men are more likely than women to suffer serious injuries in intimate partner relationships and that men are actually less likely than women to use violence in intimate relationships (Felson & Cares, 2005). Some factors are apparently inhibiting men, who are generally much more violent than women (outside intimate relationships), from using violence against their female partners. Results in the Felson and Cares (2005) study show that those men who do engage in violence against their spouse and those women who engage in violence against their family members are more likely than other offenders to do so with high frequency. It is surprising that this result was obtained in what was essentially presented to respondents as, “a study of violence against women” (Felson & Cares, 2005, p. 15).In fact, the authors argue that men actually inhibit violence in intimate relationships compared to their non-intimate levels.

...Interestingly, authors responding to findings that suggest a narrow or non-existent gender gap in partner abuse rates also allege that females are universally more vulnerable to abuse by men than men are to abuse by women. Importantly, this perspective has found little support in the data.

Carney, M., Buttell, F., & Dutton, D. (2007). Women who perpetrate intimate partner violence: A review of the literature with recommendations for treatment. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12(1), 108-115.

The offending study:

Felson, R. B., & Cares, A. C. (2005). Gender and the seriousness of assaults on intimate partners and other victims. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(5), 1182-1195.

The 1975 National Family Violence survey uncovered higher rates of abuse against men

The very first large scale federal study on domestic violence in the US was carried out by researchers who expected to find higher rates of female victimization compared to male victimization. The results of that study showed that slightly more men than women were victims of domestic violence, including severe forms of violence.

Two of those researchers -- Murray Straus and Suzanne Steinmetz -- spent the rest of their careers researching this phenomen after discovering this. Steinmetz, in particular, was the first researcher to coin the "battered husband syndrome" back in 1977, a concept that would eventually be coopted by feminists during the 1980s and derided as a "myth" when applied to men.

Straus, M. A. (2010). Thirty years of denying the evidence on gender symmetry in partner violence: Implications for prevention and treatment. Partner Abuse, 1(3), 332-362.

Related to this is the fact that Erin Pizzey discovered the same thing "on the ground" after opening the world's first domestic violence shelter for women in Britain.

All of the relevant parties here took this in stride and bravely went against the status quo. In some instances they even received death threats and bomb threats from feminists. All three are widely celebrated today by the MRM.

Multiple CDC sexual victimization surveys have found similar rates of female-on-male sexual assault as male-on-female sexual assault, despite famously reporting the opposite

Several studies on sexual assault have found near equal rates of male victimization as female victimization.

While there are a few "honest" studies out there, the most well-known tend try try and hide this fact in their research. The primary strategy they use is to define female-on-male rape as "something else that's not rape".

Recently the CDC has come under fire for this.

This striking finding—that men and women reported similar rates of nonconsensual sex in a 12-month period—might have made for a newsworthy finding. Instead, the CDC’s public presentation of these data emphasized female sexual victimization, thereby (perhaps inadvertently) confirming gender stereotypes about victimization.

Stemple, L., & Meyer, I. H. (2014). The sexual victimization of men in America: New data challenge old assumptions. American Journal of Public Health, 104(6), e19-e26.

A study trying to prove that mothers are discriminated against in family court instead found the exact opposite, and then tried to hide it

A study from the late 1980s on child custody discrimination expected to find discrimination against mothers, and not fathers (lol), but instead discovered that men were 6 times less likely to gain custody compared to identically placed women.

Not only did their publication attempt to use dishonest statistical shenanigans to hide this, they tried to burry the raw data to prevent other researchers from double checking their findings. Their study is still widely cited by other researchers as well as by random people on the Internet, because it is the only study that, on the surface, found discrimination against mothers. In one meta study it sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison to ~10 other studies that found the exact opposite.

You can read that meta study here, and a list of sources on page 974 in the footnotes:

"Beyond Economic Fatherhood: Encouraging Divorced Fathers to Parent".

The offending study:

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Study Committee,. (1989). Gender Bias Study of the Court System in Massachusetts.

The story of how one researcher discovered that the study was fraudulent, and how he came into possession of the raw data that they tried to bury, can be found here:

Rosenthal, M. B. (1995). Misrepresentation of Gender Bias in the 1989 Report of the Gender Bias Committee of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Breaking The Science.

Unsubstantiated reports that women were being underrepresented in medical research has created a large gap against male medical research

The researchers in this case may not have a bias, but the research was conducted against a general assumption that medical research was unfairly focused on men. The complaints were loud enough to inspire research into the topic where it was quickly found that far more interest and money was put into women's health research than men, including even in areas where men are known to be effected more.

Recently John Oliver repeated these myths, despite some of this research being almost 20 years old now.

Bartlett, E. E. (2001). Did medical research routinely exclude women? An examination of the evidence. Epidemiology, 12(5), 584-586.

"John Oliver repeats healthcare myths in his coverage of gender bias in the healthcare field". Men Are Human.

A study expecting to find discrimination against girls in math and science instead found that boys are discriminated against in literally every single subject

Another study on educational discrimination expected to find discrimination against female students, in part to explain why girls struggle in math and science. They instead found exactly the opposite of this: that male students were discriminated against in every subject, including even in math and science. This study was honest in how they reported their results though. And the researchers were humble enough to admit that they expected to find different results in the abstract.

Using data on test results in several subjects in the humanities and sciences, I found, contrary to expectations, that male students face discrimination in each subject.

Lavy, V. (2008). Do gender stereotypes reduce girls' or boys' human capital outcomes? Evidence from a natural experiment. Journal of public Economics, 92(10-11), 2083-2105.

A researcher expecting to find discrimination against women in STEM instead found discriminated against men

An unpublished experiment meant to find discrimination against women in STEM instead found evidence of the opposite. The researcher masked the voices of candidates so that their gender wouldn't be known in interviews. The idea was that female candidates would do better than what they do when their gender is known. She instead found that this gender blind process benefited men instead of women, indicating that there was gender discrimination against men. She never followed through with a large scale study because the researcher, a feminist, didn't get the results she expected in her preliminary trials.

Turner, Karen. (2016, July 25). This tool gender-swapped the voices of tech job candidates. Here’s what happened. The Washington Post.

A study looking at discrimination against women in STEM instead found that women were preferred over men by a rate of 2:1

In this case the researchers don't appear to have had a bias, but they justified their research against claims that women were being discriminated against in STEM.

Williams, W. M., and Ceci, S. J. (2015). National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112, 5360–5365. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1418878112.

A study about employment discrimination in Australia found evidence of discrimination against men instead of women

Another study on gender blind hiring performed in Australia was meant to find discrimination against women, but instead found discrimination against men.

The research team fully expected to find far more female candidates shortlisted when sex was disguised. But, as the stunned team leader told the local media: "We found the opposite, that de-identifying candidates reduced the likelihood of women being selected for the shortlist."

A study reporting discrimination against women in music instead found, and then tried to hide, evidence of discrimination against men

A widely cited study on orchestra auditions that supposedly found evidence of discrimination against women is flawed, and may in fact show the opposite. The results were not statistically significant since the data was flawed to begin with, which is perhaps what allowed the original researchers to mold it to their pre-determined conclusions. However, it does support the idea that men are discriminated against, a fact that shows up in their own data tables plain as day inside of the study.

The research went uncriticized for nearly two decades. That changed recently, when a few scholars and data scientist went back and read the whole study. The first thing that noticed is that the raw tabulations showed women doing worse [during blind auditions].

Related: "Vancouver symphony holds blind composition competition, causes outrage when all the winners are male and mostly white, VSO promises to discriminate against white males next year.".

Feminist inspired "investigations" into pay discrimination against women at Google and the BBC instead found that men were being underpaid.

Adding these from the comments. That brings the total up to 11.

Wakabayashi, Daisuke (2019, March 4). Google Finds It’s Underpaying Many Men as It Addresses Wage Equity. The New York Times.

Sherwin, A. (2018, January 30). BBC men to get pay rises as review rejects gender discrimination claims. iNews.

If you know of any others, feel free to post about them in the comments. I know I've seen more in the past. I just think it's funny that people are so confident that women have things worse that they automatically expect their research to back this up. This tendency to assume that women have things worse and are discriminated against is itself essentially a form of discrimination against men. Especially when those researchers try to hide or misinterpret their findings.

There is, incidentally, evidence of discrimination against research that dares to focus on men or men's issues. Research that focuses on men's issues get cited less, reported in the media less, and the researchers involved have less access to academic resources and grant money compared to researchers who look into women's issues.

So maybe that's why some of these researchers downplay their findings when they find evidence of discrimination against men.

For example:

Browne, Kingsley R., Mind Which Gap? The Selective Concern Over Statistical Sex Disparities (2013). Florida International University Law Review, Vol. 8, 2013; Wayne State University Law School Research Paper No. 2013-22.

Jussim, L. (2019). Scientific Bias in Favor of Studies Finding Gender Bias: Studies that find bias against women often get disproportionate attention.

Related: "Feminist Academic Fraud and Abuse".

I wonder how many studies have gone unpublished because the researchers didn't like their results, and knew it could negatively impact their careers. And I wonder how many of the studies showing discrimination against men were perhaps originally meant to find discrimination against women, but were begrudgingly published anyway. In either case, this bias seems to run pretty deep, which is something you wouldn't normally expect to find in academia.

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Title Studies that expect to find discrimination against women often find discrimination against men instead
Author Oncefa2
Upvotes 228
Comments 43
Date May 16, 2020 3:29 PM UTC (1 year ago)
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