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Study finds critical feedback more prevalent in women’s reviews

Discrimination based upon one’s gender is an issue in workplaces throughout the nation. While it can impact men as well as women, most often women are in the receiving end of it. Women who face gender discrimination know it can take many forms including:

  • The failure to be hired.
  • The failure to be promoted.
  • Unfair firings.
  • Being paid less than men doing the same job.

While there are likely many reasons individuals might give for firing, not hiring, not promoting or not paying a woman the same as a man, the way they are perceived could play a role. A study that explored this matter was recently conducted.

The study looked at performance reviews received by both men and women in the tech field. It revealed that critical feedback was more likely to be found in women’s reviews. More specifically, 87.9 percent of the women’s reviews contained critical feedback. In comparison, 58.9 percent of the men’s reviews included critical feedback.

The study went on to breakdown the critical feedback further. It determined that women were much more likely to have their personality criticized in a negative way than men. Of the 94 critical reviews women received, 71 of them contained that type of criticism. Of the 83 critical reviews men received, only two included a negative personality criticism.

Among other things, the language found on the reviews that was deemed to fall into this category suggested that the employee should not be as judgmental, and watch his or her tone.

The study’s results seem to indicate that there could be a lower tolerance for aggressiveness in women in the workplace, than in men. Though the study did not make any correlations regarding promotions or raises the employees whose performance reviews were looked at received, a study exploring that could be the next logical step.

Source: Fortune, “The abrasiveness trap: High-achieving men and women are described differently in reviews,” Kieran Snyder, Aug. 26, 2014

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