Kim O'Grady had a lot of trouble finding a job until he made one small change to his resume -- adding "Mr." in front of his name.
In a Tumblr post titled "How I Discovered Gender Discrimination," O'Grady shared his story of job-hunting in the male-dominated fields of engineering and management in the late '90s. Despite his impressive resume and relevant work experience, he was not offered a single interview -- until he clarified his gender on his CV. O'Grady wrote:
My first name is Kim. Technically it's gender neutral but my experience showed that most people’s default setting in the absence of any other clues is to assume Kim is a women’s name. And nothing else on my CV identified me as male. At first I thought I was being a little paranoid but engineering, trades, sales and management were all definitely male-dominated industries. So I pictured all the managers I had over the years and, forming an amalgam of them in my mind, I read through the document as I imagined they would have. It was like being hit on the head with a big sheet of unbreakable glass ceiling.
After tweaking his resume, O'Grady noticed how quickly his job "luck" changed. "I got an interview for the very next job I applied for. And the one after that," he wrote. "In the end I beat out a very competitive short-list and enjoyed that job for the next few years, further enhancing my career." Male privilege -- it's a real thing.
In his blog post, O'Grady also noted that his resume contained some personal information, including the fact that he was married with children. A 2009 New York Times piece explored the history of the "anti-mommy bias." In the post, Economics professor Nancy Folbre discussed how caregivers are penalized when it comes to employment, citing numerous studies. She wrote:
In a ... convincing audit study, fictional résumés and cover letters were sent to employers advertising midlevel marketing and business job openings at a large Northeastern city newspaper. Childless women received 2.1 times as many callbacks as mothers.
Here's hoping that we reach a point where job candidates are evaluated on their qualifications and experience -- not their gender or parental status.