All posts by RG

MeasureMyMindbug at the GreenLight for Girls Event, European School, Mol, Belgium

logo-high-res-trans-bgSaturday November 21st, 2015, MeasureMyMindbug was invited to participate in the Greenlight for Girls event at the European School in Mol. Greenlight for girls is an international organisation dedicated to inspire girls of all ages and backgrounds to pursue STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – by introducing them to the world of science in fun and exciting ways!


During that day at the MeasureMyMindbug boot boys and girls at the age of 11-15 years received information how unconscious biases may influence decisions to follow science subjects at a Secundary School or a science study. Furthermore boys and girls were able to do a ‘mindbug test’ gender and science.

Often people assume that there are differences between boys and girls when it comes to science. However, a huge study amongst 400,000 students, age 15 in 57 countries shows that in the majority of countries no differences have been found in the average performance in science between boys and girls.

2015-11-21 14.33.06Apart from an explicit opinion about boys and girls and gender differences in science performance, there may also be an unconscious bias present that implicitly shows a preference to associate science for example more with boys then with girls. These unconscious biases (so-called mindbugs) may influence decisions for future development of boys and girls towards science or to other development directions.

The mindbug awareness helps children, parents, teachers and study councilors to take more conscious decisions on study development and increase the probability that in the future children will develop towards their individual strengths.

Ruud Gal
November 23, 2015

The One Word Men Never See in Their Performance Reviews


It’s a scenario that could be straight out of a textbook on gender bias:

“Jessica is really talented, but I wish she’d be less abrasive. She comes on too strong.” Her male counterpart? “Steve is an easy case, smart and great to work with. He needs to learn to be a little more patient, but who doesn’t?”

These statements, uttered by an engineering manager who was preparing performance reviews, were the catalyst for linguist Kieran Snyder to see if she could quantify the double standards in the way male and female employees are evaluated

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Why more men should fight for women’s rights

Owen Jones

To end the harm inflicted by aggressive masculinity men must embrace feminism – without stealing it.

20-year-old psychology student with dreams, fears and aspirations who was tortured and murdered by a man. She could have become just another statistic in a global pandemic of male violence against women, but in Turkey and neighbouring Azerbaijan she has become an icon.

Across Twitter, Turkish women have responded by sharing their experiences of harassment, objectification and abuse. But something else happened: men took to the streets wearing miniskirts, protesting at male violence against women and at those who excuse it or play it down.

Before assessing how men can best speak out in support of women, it’s worth looking at the scale of gender oppression. The statistics reveal what looks like a campaign of terror. According to the World Health Organisation, over a third of women globally have suffered violence from a partner or sexual violence from another man. The UN estimates that about 133 million girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation, and believes that nearly all of the 4.5 million people “forced into sexual exploitation” are girls and women. In Britain, about 1.2 million women suffer domestic violence a year, 400,000 are sexually assaulted, and 85,000 are raped: again, misery inflicted by men against women on a mass scale.

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Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives

by Maria Popova

How to fine-tune the internal monologue that scores every aspect of our lives, from leadership to love.

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,” Debbie Millman counseled in one of the best commencement speeches ever given, urging: “Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…” Far from Pollyanna platitude, this advice actually reflects what modern psychology knows about how belief systems about our own abilities and potential fuel our behavior and predict our success. Much of that understanding stems from the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, synthesized in her remarkably insightful Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (public library), which explores the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives.


Study: Workplace diversity can help the bottom line

MIT economist scrutinizes firm data suggesting diverse offices function more effectively.
Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office,  October 7, 2014

Gender diversity in the workplace helps firms be more productive, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT researcher — but it may also reduce satisfaction among employees.

“Having a more diverse set of employees means you have a more diverse set of skills,” says Sara Ellison, an MIT economist, which “could result in an office that functions better.”

At the same time, individual employees may prefer less diverse settings. The study, analyzing a large white-collar U.S. firm, examined how much “social capital” offices build up in the form of things like cooperation, trust, and enjoyment of the workplace.
“The more homogeneous offices have higher levels of social capital,” Ellison observes. “But the interesting twist is that … higher levels of social capital are not important enough to cause those offices to perform better. The employees might be happier, they might be more comfortable, and these might be cooperative places, but they seem to perform less well.”

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Bad Feminist: Roxane Gay on the Complexities and Blind Spots of the Equality Movement

by Maria Popova

“Feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves.”

“Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers,” science correspondent Shankar Vedantam wrote in his excellent exploration of our hidden biases. “Those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine.”

Roxane Gay, one of my favorite minds, has been swimming against the current in many ways — female, black, large, queer. She steps firmly ashore in Bad Feminist (public library) — a magnificent compendium of essays examining various aspects of “our culture and how we consume it,” from race and gender representations in pop culture to the way revolution and innovation can often leave us unfulfilled and unheard to the gaping blind spots of what we call “diversity.” To be sure, Gay isn’t writing to and for women only — what is perhaps her most piercing clarion call to men is made sidewise and subtly, as a comment about privilege in an essay about the class asymmetries of the education system, where she writes: “The notion that I should be fine with the status quo even if I am not wholly affected by the status quo is repulsive.”

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On letting children choose their toys

Katharine Whitehorn, The Observer, Sunday 25 May 2014

Do boys and girls have innate toy preferences, or are we typecasting them into gendered ghettos of dolls and pink versus guns and football? The debates.

Shops are reproached for dividing their toy departments into boys’ things (engines) and girls’ things (dolls) on the grounds that typecasting little girls as lovers of pink discriminates against them, and discourages them from thinking that they, too, might understand engines one day.

But it could be argued – is argued by shops – that girls like different things anyway so they are just giving them what they want. Certainly adopting too much maleness in the interests of equality isn’t always sensible. During my ill-fated time at Roedean we were offered Harrow’s school song, which spoke warmly of games and “the tramp of 22 men” – hardly what the girls wanted to emulate.

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Comments Ruud Gal

In general I agree with Katherine. Whitehorn that children should freely choose what toys to play.

In the comments on her blog, the underlying discussion is whether differences between men and women are from a genetic origin or a cultural origin.
There is some scientific evidence for a genetic origin based on differences in hormones, like oxytocin. this hormone is more present in the female body, causing the person amongst others to have more trust in others. The hormone, testosterone, is more present in male bodies, stimulating competition and dominance.

There is also another view on gender differences. Many believe that in the early stages of life male and female babies are already treated different. Asha ten Broeke has written an interesting book (unfortunately in Dutch) about this (“Het m/v-idee”). And she comes with many arguments underpinning the cultural impact.

The fact that only a few women in the Netherlands are following technical studies compared to countries around us, was for me a strong indicator for cultural influence. On the other hand, we are social beings, so without role models, I am not convinced we can create enough societal stability and coherence.

My advice is, look at the children. Give them a rich environment where they can experiment and learn. They will show what they like and not like, where they have special qualities and where not. And the next step is to stimulate by offering opportunities to develop their strengths.

Next to the focus on personal development, there is a lot of work to be done to make the children become social beings. Our culture is full of signs, behaviors, attitudes that signal meaning and these are necessary to keep societal coherence. For me, the golden rule applies “Do not do to others what you do not want to be done to yourselves”. This helps to make children becoming empathic beings and think about the consequences of their behavior for others.

Why Strangers Don’t Get Good Jobs

Note RG:  In my view, the author of this article describes his view on the de facto practice in hiring. His advice is very easy and pragmatic, accept this situation and adopt to increase your chances, whether you are hiring or applying for a job.  In my view there is another way., Focus on dealing with diversity and inclusion and try to  hire the best candidate, that is as a recruiter, where you are paid for. And as a job seeker, if you have a chance,  I hope you can obtain the best position that fits your strengths and passion. Although the author describes an in my view undesired practice, it is still good to be aware of this happening in hiring. 

By Lou Adler,  May 19, 2014

When you know someone, even slightly or indirectly, the person is more fairly evaluated on factors that actually predict performance.

(Note: please read the post before you say it’s about nepotism, who you know, unfair, or throw your hands up and complain. Stop being a victim! The point of the article is to suggest that if you break the ice first, get a referral, or set-up preliminary exploratory calls first, job-seekers will be judged more fairly. If you don’t do these things, job-seekers will be assessed on their presentation skills, personality and their skills solely. This is what’s unfair. The article describes how to level the playing field so everyone is judged objectively.)

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The Most Important Trait of Successful People

Patrick Allan
May 12, 2014

Being conscientious can help you maintain a strong moral compass, but psychologists also believe it may be the number one trait found in the most successful people, according to Inc.

Studies have linked conscientiousness with earning higher salaries, higher job satisfaction, and psychologists classify it as one of the “Big 5” personality traits you should have:

[Conscientious people are] better at goals: setting them, working toward them, and persisting amid setbacks. If a super ambitious goal can’t be realized, they’ll switch to a more attainable one rather than getting discouraged and giving up. As a result, they tend to achieve goals that are consistent with what employers want.

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Urban Design Can Change The Lives Of People With Autism

By Shaunacy Ferrom
May 7, 2014


Cities are not the friendliest of places for people with autism. Landscape architecture student Elizabeth Decker aims to change that. For her master’s research at Kansas State University, Decker developed a toolkit to help urban planners design more inclusive communities for adults with autism and other disorders. The project was inspired by her 19-year-old brother, Marc, who has autism.

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