IB English Paper 1 Practice - Text As Gender bias starts before a candidate is even hired and Text Bs New Study Exposes Gender Bias In Tech Job Listings are both feature articles regarding the issue of gender-bias language in job listings
Text A’s “Gender bias ‘starts before a candidate is even hired’” and Text B’s “New Study Exposes Gender Bias In Tech Job Listings” are both feature articles regarding the issue of gender-bias language in job listings and its negative effects. Text A is an article written in November of 2017 in a UK based news publication website called People Management. From the name of the publication and “related articles” provided through hyperlinks at the foot of the page, it can be inferred that this news publication specifically targets millennials who are business men or women, and that their articles often address contemporary issues encompassing the workplace environment. Text B, on the other hand, is an article written a while back in March of 2013 in a business section of an American news publication website called Wired. From the name of the publication, their advertisement which has a picture of a group of robots smiling up at an iPhone, and the name of the hyperlinks that leads to other articles on the website, it can be inferred that this publication is usually read by tech-savvy audience. Although the two texts share the same dual purpose of informing readers about the perils of gender-bias words in job listings as well as persuading companies to omit the use of those words in the job listings, the two texts differ greatly in the way they approach their thesis due to the difference in their context and target audience.
Difference of primary audience between the two texts causes difference in focus of the two articles. Being a UK based news publication specifically focused on office related issues, Text A’s chief audience is general working class of British people. The hyperlinks on the bottom of the page which leads to different articles of the publication such as “Why sex discrimination claims aren’t just for women”, and “The perils of dismissing a pregnant employee”, it can reasonably be said that People Management is a publication source that cares for and is in favor of social equality and diversity in workplace. This suggests that the readers of the medium are also a caring community of people who are generally educated and socially awake. This helps the text to carry out its secondary purpose that goes beyond its primary purpose of informing the readers about the issue of gender-biased language: it stirs action against the common malpractice in job offerings and convinces the readers to create change for the better. Text A also raise relevance to its thesis by providing information that are relevant to the target audience. Since their publication is UK based, it mentions different regions in UK and their differences in gender-biased job descriptions. By revealing a specific region where male-biased language is the most apparent, namely London, the article alarms people to take action, especially those residing in the specific location or is in close proximity of it. The article also present interviews from people working in firms located in UK, such as Chloe Chambraud, gender equality director at Business in the Community, and Elisabeth Kynaston, employment lawyer at BP Collins, indicating to the readers how factual the issue is. By raising relevancy of the issue, the text elucidates the urgency of the issue calls for immediate action.
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While Text B is similar with Text A in a way that it is written with the purpose of exposing more people to the problem of gendered words in job advertisements and convincing people to use more gender-neutral words in it, it differs in a way that it narrows its focus on people who are specifically working in technological fields. Although the given article is published in the business section of the website, Wired itself is predominately read by people such as programmers or innovators who are interested in keeping up with the fast growing technology in the modern world. In fact, the tags attached on the bottom of the article are “developers”, “enterprise”, “women in tech”, “research” and “work” and only two tags out of five tags, namely “research” and “work”, are not directly relevant to the primary audience of Wired. These tags narrows the target audience even more from the webpage’s initial audience; it suggests that this specific article is for employees in tech companies who are looking for diversity and inclusion in their workplace. Similar to Text A, Text B keeps its information relevant and applicable to their target audience through their selection of secondary sources: since Wired is an American publisher, it provides statistics on the percentage of women engineers who are specifically in the US, and since it is for people working with technology, it provides quotations from other people working in that field such as Etsy CTO Kellan Elliott-McCrea, and software manager Shanley Kane. Although written for different audiences, the two text’s adaptability for their specific context achieves similar effect of raising urgency of the issue and making the audience want to take action.
The contrasting context and audience also effects the way texts present their information and structuralize their article. Text A is quite straightforward with its findings and implications. It first introduces the pressing problem, provides evidences that resonates the proposition, and suggests what readers could do about it. It does not necessarily provide analysis for the information given and it is left for the audience to understand the implications of the statistics and quotations provided in the text. This may be due to the fact that the publication is mostly read by people working is business who are used to these types of information and can process it easily. Text A is heavily aided with secondary resources that even the title of the article has quotations in it, meaning that it is a retelling of a secondary source, not an original finding: “Gender bias ‘starts before a candidate is even hired’. This builds credibility for its central thesis, and facilitates acceptance from the readers.
Text B has an expository transition which enumerates various studies that helps readers understand the gravity of the problem. An interesting factor is that most studies mentioned in the article are not directly about people working in technology. In fact, one of the studies mentioned, namely the study done in University of Waterloo and Duke university, is exactly the same as one of the studies mentioned in Text A. Nevertheless, the article scopes the analysis of the studies in the relevant context of jobs in technology, making the information appropriate for the target audience. A noticeable stylistic feature used in Text B is concession. There are multiple incidents where an author would use worlds such as “although” and “but” to rebut possible counterclaims. For example, in the start of the article, it states that although the difference between gender-neutral and gender-biased words seems small, “it could be enough to tilt the balance”. Providing concessions and acknowledging possible counterclaims helps alleviate any misgivings from the audience and provides little room for disagreement, adding conviction to the author’s thesis. Text B is also very explanatory: it says “In other words” and “For example” often, to clarify information that can be hard to understand and dig deeper into the problem. The reason Text B is more explanatory than Text A may be because Text B is for people who are mostly working in technology, and have limited knowledge on information like this.
Webpage design is another factor that closely aligns with each text’s specific context and audience. The different designs of the two web pages sets different mood for the two articles. Text A’s website design is quite minimal; its color scheme is basic with black, blue and red, its font is monotonous, and it does not have a picture that couples with the article. This sets a rather serious tone that makes the audience feel as if this article should be taken seriously with a composed manner. It is even possible for younger audiences to be reluctant to read articles from the website at all due to its dullness. The webpage design allows the publication to strictly carry out its sole purpose of informing a serious issue in the business world.
Text B, on the other hand, is garnished with bright green header embellished with an eye-catching logo, selective picture that illustrates the topic of the article, and font that is larger and trendier than Text A’s. These are all stark contrasts from Text A’s minimalistic design. Text B’s ascetically pleasing web page design sets a joyous mood that reflects the website’s contemporary and casual spirit that carries out not only informative but also entertainment purposes. Based on the modernistic design, it can also be interpreted that the website attracts mostly younger audiences, who are the most likely to be tech-savviest.
The different nature of the two publication can explain the different format of the two articles; Text A writes of the gendered language issue in businesses sector as a whole, while Text B focuses specially on businesses in the field of technology.