Surprise! Women Are Criticized More Personally in Performance Reviews
I just got in a big, insane fight with a woman at the library and I am steaming mad and this article about the disparity with which men and women are treated in performance reviews? Well it is completely unrelated but it certainly isn’t helping!
There’s a common perception that women in technology endure personality feedback that their male peers just don’t receive. Words like bossy, abrasive, strident, and aggressive are used to describe women’s behaviors when they lead; words like emotional and irrational describe their behaviors when they object. All of these words show up at least twice in the women’s review text I reviewed, some much more often. Abrasive alone is used 17 times to describe 13 different women. Among these words, only aggressive shows up in men’s reviews at all. It shows up three times, twice with an exhortation to be more of it.
Writing for Fortune, Kieran Snyder followed an anecdotally-supported hunch that women’s careers were often undermined by perceptions of abrasiveness. She collected performance reviews, functioning as a written record of perception, from men and women in tech — 248 reviews from 180 people (105 men, 75 women, 28 different companies).
The question I wanted to answer was: Did review tone or content differed based on the employee’s gender? I also wanted to know whether the manager’s gender was a factor in how they reviewed their employees. I was especially interested in employees who shared reviews given by both male and female managers.
A linguist analyzed the results, and the results are NOT GOOD.
…Negative personality criticism—watch your tone! step back! stop being so judgmental!—shows up twice in the 83 critical reviews received by men. It shows up in 71 of the 94 critical reviews received by women.
I’m so mad. Or should I say emotional? I have been criticized for being emotional at work before. I have been emotional at work before. By that I guess I mean I have shown my emotions? Ugh, I am still so emotional about it.
Fuck everyone. Except you guys. (Most of you.)