How One Man Discovered Gender Discrimination


I guess Johnny Cash taught parent’s not to name their boy “Sue,” but you probably shouldn’t name him Kim, either. At least not if you want him to get a job. You should totally name him Kim if you want him to become aware that, yes, gender discrimination is a real thing that does exist.

The Huffington Post writes that:

Kim 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.

On his blog, Kim explains that:

My first name is Kim. Technically its 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.

My choice to brand the CV with a bold positioning of my name actually seemed to scream that I was a woman. I could easily imagine many of the people I had worked for discarding the document without even reading further. If they did read further the next thing they saw (as politeness declared at the time) was a little personal information, and that declared I was married with kids. I had put this in because I knew many employers would see it as showing stability, but when I viewed it through the skewed view of middle aged men who thought I was a woman, I could see it was just further damning my cause. I doubt if many of the managers I had known would have made it to the second page.

I made one change that day. I put Mr in front of my name on my CV. It looked a little too formal for my liking but I got an interview for the very next job I applied for. And the one after that. It all happened in a fortnight and the second job was a substantial increase in responsibility over anything I had done before. In the end I beat out a very competitive short-list and enjoyed that job for the next few years, further enhancing my career.

This is unbelievably depressing, but, I guess kudos to him for pointing that out and being aware of it.

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    • Tania

      I read his blog post the other day and found it incredibly saddening.

    • Tania

      But not as saddening as the comments on the HuffPo article! Good GOD.

    • LynnKell

      It is incredibly sad because of the double standard. How many people diss a perfectly fit CV because that human has an uterus? This article really got to my last nerve because lets us see how unfair is society. A man can have an spouse and kids and they’re seen as perfectly capable of having a job. A woman has an spouse and kids and she no longer is capable of being part of the work force? Bullshit.

      Also, is really sickening that nobody wanted to give a “woman” a shot at engineering and management. Even worse, a decade and a half later, there haven’t been big changes about that