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Performance review gender bias: High-achieving women are 'abrasive'

Stashed in: Women, Sexism, inequality, XX, Women in Tech, Cognitive Bias

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Men are given constructive suggestions. Women are given constructive suggestions – and told to pipe down.

Apparently it doesn't matter what the gender of the manager is; both genders are guilty of doing this.

To fix the problem we need to call it out when we see it.

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.

As a woman in tech who has been called all of these things before, there is some validation in confirming with data that the pattern is real. But as a leader in tech, I’m aghast at how closely under our noses we let this live.

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