A new study concludes that when a “queer” and a “straight” woman of equal qualifications apply for the same job, the straight woman is nearly a third more likely to get called back, ThinkProgress reports.
Such were the findings when Emma Mishel, a doctoral student in the sociology program at New York University, created two different test resumes and submitted them to more than 800 administrative, clerical and secretarial job openings in New York City, Washington, D.C., Tennessee and Virginia.
The resumes were similarly qualified, featuring Ivy League degrees, but randomized to show that the applicant had leadership experience at either an LGBT or a non-LGBT organization of similar stature. She found that the applicant without the LGBT indicator was 29 percent more likely to be contacted for an interview than the applicant who did.
Interestingly, rates of discrimination did not vary across the locations. That suggests that having LGBT protections in the law, such as in places like New York and D.C., doesn’t necessarily protect against the kind of unspoken, invisible discrimination that can occur in the candidate selection process.
Studies like Mishel’s, which compare rates of resume response to assess discrimination, are rare but increasing. Recently, the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights did such a test to assess discrimination against transgender applicants–and used the results to take enforcement actions against five of the businesses.
According to Mishel, her study “found clear evidence of discrimination against queer women who apply to administrative jobs in the United States compared with straight women of equal qualifications.”
She added, “It would be beneficial if audit experiments such as this were conducted on a more regular basis to keep up with the fast pace at which the public’s opinion is changing in support of LGBT rights…”