UCL School of Management

26 June 2020

How can we tackle gender inequality and decision making bias in academia?

Globally, women are underrepresented in academia, particularly in senior academic positions. For example, in business and management fields in the UK higher education, only around 20% of senior academics are women.

Dr Sunny Lee recently spoke to Authority Magazine to discuss her research on gender differences and biased decision-making in the workplace. Sunny’s research goes beyond how men and women are treated differently, and explores the differences in their behaviour and responses to certain workplace situations such as networking, competitions and facing rejection and how they may respond differently.

“In my recent publication, I found that women, compared with men, after competing with their coworkers (particularly the same-sex coworkers), felt more distressed, even finding that their work relationships were damaged by the competition. This gender difference in response to competition might exacerbate extant gender disparities in the workplace by discouraging women from competing, which is an essential activity of modern organisations.”

Sunny has managed the School of Management’s Athena SWAN application and we are delighted to say that thanks to the dedicated team led by Sunny we have been awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Award.

Although passionate about her research teaching is one of the things Sunny most enjoys about her work at The School of Management. When asked what her proudest moment was Sunny said;

“This is my fifth-year of teaching, and I still love every moment of it. I feel proud when I see my students improving in their negotiations. I still remember a student who had told me, prior to my course, that she was too shy to negotiate over anything. I disagreed and kept encouraging her to speak up and try at least one new tactic in each exercise without fear of failure. By the end of the course, she became one of the five top negotiators in her cohort. Afterwards, she sent me an email saying that she had successfully landed a job in a top management consulting firm thanks to what she had learnt in my course.”

Read the full interview

Last updated Wednesday, 1 July 2020