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Are Recommendation Letters Ruining Womens Chances?


I talked about this before in a previous psychology class of mine, but the overall idea of this article is how women and men are described differently on their recommendation letters. In this psych class, I was shown different statistics about this. On male letters, they are often described as having done much research work, and are described with assertive terms. Women on the other hand, may have more experience but their research work isn’t discussed, and they are described using communal words, such as about their social or emotional descriptions. Assertive words would be dominant, ambitious, daring, or outspoken. Communal words are things like tactful, agreeable, sympathetic, or something about taking direction well.

Even though these are great things, to be described as helpful and nice and agreeable, the teachers with any of those listed on the recommendation letter (often women) were viewed as less valuable to employers. They apparently want the aggressive applicants.

This was one part of the article;
“The research team also noted that letter writers included more doubt raisers when recommending women, using phrases such as “She might make an excellent leader” versus what they used for male candidates, “He is already an established leader.” “

Here is another source with a similar discussion: http://themonkeycage.org/2010/11/13/new_evidence_for_gender_bias_i/

1 Comment

  1. […] “Recommendation Letters May Be Costing Women Jobs” via https://wgst303.wordpress.com/… and […]

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