Feedback has gender

As women advancement in the career ladder has stalled, there is an urgency to signal “the” culprit: women don’t ask for promotions, women don’t have an appetite for leadership, women don’t sit at the table… Unfortunately, rarely those assertions come with metrics.

A refreshing change is this HBR article summarizing a study based on 81,000 peer evaluations among +4,000 US Naval Academy students. The study main findings were:

  1. No gender differences were found in objective measures (e.g., grades, fitness scores, class standing).
  2. Very gendered differences appeared in subjective evaluations:
    1. Women received more negative attributes than men.
    2. Positive and negative attributes for each gender correlated with conforming/violating the gender stereotypes.

CALL TO ACTION: Next time you provide feedback to a female peer, employee or write her a recommendation note, flip the gender and read it again. Is she scattered or versatile? Is she opportunistic or resourceful? See page 23 of the US Naval Academy peer evaluation for inspiration!

How does this article resonate with you?