The Petrie Multiplier

Nov 22 / Network Capital
Let’s assume that there are six men and four women in a room. Each of the 10 individuals are equally likely to make rude, derogatory and sexist remarks. In this situation, women, by simply being lesser in number, will receive more negative comments. Therefore, even the smallest majority can be oppressive.

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Conceptualized by computer scientist Karen Petrie, the Petrie Multiplier is a mathematical model or a thought experiment that studies the degree of negativity women receive. Popularly used in calculating sexism in the technology industry, the model claims that the degree of sexism women receive is the square of the gender ratio in that situation.

Just like sexism, the Petrie Multiplier can be applied to understand other forms of oppressions like racism, casteism, etc.

Building on this mathematical equality, we can further deduce that the easiest way to reduce oppression is to simply increase rep- resentation. If we have an equal number of men and women in the aforementioned situation, then each individual will receive the same number of negative comments.This is something we robustly follow as we grow the Network Capital community. With over 58,000 members across 104 countries, the easiest and the most effective way for us to scale trust and create a safe and inclusive online space is to ensure diversity of individuals. By welcoming people from all ethnicities, nationalities, gender-orientations, cul- tural identities and regions, we are able to
(a) Ensure represen- tation;
(b) Avoid echo-chambers;
(c) Create safe and inclusive modern communities; and
(d) Form meaningful connections.