The ethical woman

Who is more ethical, men or women?

According to NPR correspondent Shankar Vedantim, there is a widespread belief that women are more ethical than men.  The flip side of that is that we are unconsciously biased to punish women more severely for ethical transgressions.

In one study, people punished “Jane Moranti” much more severely for a hypothetical case of Medicare fraud than “Jack Moranti.”  (130 days in prison vs. 80 days). In the real world, studies of the disciplinary proceedings of the American Bar Association reveal that female lawyers were again subject to more severe punishments than male lawyers for the same ethical violations.

We know how negative stereotypes and biases can affect the way in which we treat people.  This study shows that sometimes even a positive stereotype can have a dark underbelly.