More than ever, creativity has become a hot commodity in the workplace. Businesses compete ferociously for new ideas, and Silicon Valley — with its extreme focus on innovation — is the current bright spot of the US economy. Companies need employees who can tackle difficult problems, learn new skills fast, and identify opportunities in unexpected places. Top employers are increasingly looking to hire individuals who excel at creative thinking.
But whether you are seen as creative or not may depend on whether you’re a man or a woman. A recent paper by Devon Proudfoot, Aaron Kay, and Christy Koval at the Fuqua School of Business suggests that in certain contexts, people are more likely to associate creativity with men than with women. If this is true, then women may see their professional opportunities limited in workplaces where creativity is highly prized — and companies may lose out by undervaluing the creative ideas generated by their female employees.
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