Are Performance Reviews Sexist? New Research Says Yes

Money | 1/23/2020 | Staff
hakimi308hakimi308 (Posted by) Level 4

You’ve probably been asked to do a performance review at some point in your career. It was probably anxiety-inducing, and it probably didn’t accomplish much. Worse: it was probably mandatory.

Career experts have long advised managers to do away with these kinds of evaluations, backed by heaps of studies deeming the practice outdated, costly, and largely ineffective. Last month, researchers at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania found another reason to give them the boot.

Turns out, they’re also sexist.

The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), looks at the “gender gap in self-promotion” among 1,500 participants, who each took at 20-question analytical test and then judged how “well” they thought they did on it.

Questions - Women - Performance - Men - Amount

The average participant got half the questions right, but women consistently rated their performance lower than men. And not by a small amount: when asked to indicate their agreement on the statement “I performed well on the test,” the average man gave himself a 61 out of 100. The average woman gave herself a 46 out of 100 — a 25% difference.

This isn’t an issue of confidence—or JUST confidence—the researchers found. The ”self-promotion gap” held true even after participants were told their scores, and how it compared to other participants.

Words - Woman - Questionnaire - Participants - Rates

In other words, “Even when a woman is told exactly how well she performed on the questionnaire, and how well she performed versus other participants, she still rates herself lower than an equally performing man,” says Christine Exley, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and the study’s co-author.

Self-promotion touches nearly every facet of our careers: How we portray ourselves on cover letters and in job interviews, how...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Money
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