90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Study Finds Sexism In Recommendation Letters

Brad Steele, right, interviews with Betsy Harris, left, of Express Employment Professionals at a National CareerFair, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP)

Brad Steele, right, interviews with Betsy Harris, left, of Express Employment Professionals at a National CareerFair, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP)

Is word choice in recommendation letters hurting women’s chances for getting jobs? A recent study finds that people writing these letters often describe men with different words than women.

Adjectives like “assertive,” “ambitious,”  and “confident” are used to describe men; while women are more likely to be characterized as “sensitive,” “kind”and “nurturing.”

Rice University psychology professor and study author, Mikki Hebl, says that these seemingly innocuous distinctions could be preventing women from getting jobs.  The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

October 20 Comment

Alternate Routes: Lasting Impressions From The Road

Our digital and social media producer Rachel Rohr is back from a month-long trip cross-country, talking with young Americans.

October 20 Comment

Mario Batali Goes Farm To Table

The chef and restaurateur discusses the "farm to table" trend and shares recipes with a hearty and rustic twist.

October 17 3 Comments

Toll Lanes: Coming Soon To Almost Every Major City In Florida

Reporting by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting found the toll lanes are developed without much public input, and without reliable knowledge of the cost.

October 17 Comment

USAID: Challenges And Small Victories In Liberia

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 4,500 people in the region with an estimated 8,900 more people currently infected.