Egalitarianism has taken hold ideologically in many countries and has increased women’s entry into white-collar professional fields, but gendered access to professions persists. In this article the authors suggest managers’ cultural scrutiny — a practice whereby institutional actors cultivate and use personal information infused with cultural cues in the hiring process, paradoxically both enables adherence to egalitarianism and gendered access to white-collar jobs. Using NLP techniques and data from nearly 20,000 applicants to a professional entry-level sales position in three large urban centers in the U.S., the authors find evidence that through cultural scrutiny, institutional actors decouple candidate gender from sex to advantage candidates with masculine characteristics in the hiring process over candidates with feminine characteristics, as well as female applicants over male applicants. The authors situate cultural scrutiny in a broader cultural hiring frame — i.e. traditional essentialism, egalitarian essentialism, and symbolic egalitarianism — and discuss how cultural scrutiny affects gender inequality in institutions, labor markets and work organizations.