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blind audition

Image: Igen, CCO Public Domain, Pixaby

A lot of us are familiar with the story, thanks to economists Goldin and Rouse and later Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, about the innovation in orchestra auditions. In the 1970s, when auditions consisted of a musician performing in front of judges, orchestras were nearly 95% male.  When orchestras turned to blind auditions—ones in which the identity of the musician was hidden by a screen—women’s share of orchestras rose to about 25%.  These blind auditions, it seemed, allowed judges to assess musicians on quality alone, leaving no room for gender bias (or any other prejudices) to enter the assessment process.

This leads me to consider two questions:

  1. Does gender bias exist outside of orchestra settings?
  2. If so, can blind auditions minimize gender bias outside of orchestra settings?

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