Comments for Historiann http://www.historiann.com History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:45:37 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2427544 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:45:37 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2427544 loumac: yep. All women are doing it rong and should stop being so “aggressive!” And shut up. And smile more–it’s a shame not to smile when we have such pretty faces! Also (and this was real advice I got): invite people out to lunch! That will fix everything, because we women hold all the power with our amazing silent smiles and lunches.

I would prefer to be thought a narcissist or a sociopath than to internalize this kind of psychological abuse.

Ruth: for the last several years, I’ve thought about writing my letters in a way meant to counter the kind of detailed criticism someone’s work might receive. So I write in detail explaining about how each & every part of the book/dossier is excellent/outstanding. (It’s a lot of work.) But I’m sure you do this already, because you’ve read loads of tenure review letters & you know what makes for a persuasive vs. unpersuasive letter.

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by loumac http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2427540 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:32:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2427540 Oh, I so want to forward this study to our dean. I probably will. He will no doubt say, or at least think, that I’m being a pushy woman. Actually, maybe I should ask a male colleague to forward it, who will then be praised for his sensitivity to equity in the workplace :)

I wonder about the emotional impact of the accumulation, over many years, of these critiques of one’s personality. They could certainly be considered micro-aggressions. And the effects of microaggressions over time, sez Wikipedia, include feeling ” frustrated, powerless, emotionally detached” and that women in particular “may become depressed, develop low self-esteem”. For those inclined towards depression and self-doubt in the first place, this just reinforces the negative feedback loop.

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by Ruth http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2427483 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:18:24 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2427483 You’ve inspired me to go look at t & p letters I’ve written over the years and see if I do this–I assume not, good feminist and all, but I don’t think anyone sets out to discriminate in this way. The thing is, of course, I get asked to write for way more women than men, working in women’s history and all.

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2427250 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 17:06:02 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2427250 ej and rachel: I’m sorry to stoke your anxieties now.

sophylou: please tell your friend to see this post & read the Slate and Fortune articles that inspired it. It won’t change anything about the dynamics in her department and college, but it might make her feel less isolated or that she’s somehow doin’ it wrong.

Anonymous grad: when I wrote that this information should be seen as “freeing,” please note that no one in the linked articles or in my story lost a job or wasn’t recommended for tenure. That’s the crazy thing: the women whose tenure files I was commenting on were all recommended for tenure, most of them strongly and enthusiastically by the tenure reviewers!

The important difference at stake here is not that the women lost their jobs; the evidence & anecdotes here all pertain to people who received positive evaluations, but most reviewers found it impossible not to include negative feedback or comments about personality in the women’s reviews. Whereas men can get winning reviews with little or no negative comments, almost no women were evaluated like that.

So that’s why I say this information should be liberating. There’s no evidence in this data that women’s professional lives are imperiled permanently or irrevocably by these evaluations; just that we’re subjected to pervasive scrutiny that probably serves to limit our access to top leadership positions. This is still a big problem! But these articles furnish useful information for managers and colleagues who want to do something about the glass ceiling/leaky pipeline problems we’re talking about.

This is news we can use, every time we write a peer evaluation of a colleague, a tenure review letter, or even letters of recommendation for our students as well as staff evaluations. And this is something that women as well as men need to do, as the Fortune story indicates: women as much as men are perpetuators of this double-standard for women employees (and in my experience, in tenure review letters).

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by sophylou http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2426756 Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:17:16 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2426756 I am watching a friend/colleague go through some singularly bad treatment and the gender dynamics are just screamingly loud, and yes, she gets told not infrequently to “watch her tone.” (She just posted this story to her FB). It’s so maddening to see such blatantly obvious gender issues and to have no way to address them. It’s one of the major down sides of being in a field that is so heavily dominated by women — the sexism is there, but it’s harder to call out since, what are we going to do to solve it, hire more women?

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by rachel http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2426680 Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:04:07 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2426680 Ugh, this is so depressing (though I suppose it means I shouldn’t put too much effort into worrying about those future letters since they’ll inevitably be somewhat critical no matter what I do or don’t do).

It strikes me that it would be interesting to compare the tenure (or, for that matter, any recommendation/review letters) by the same person for men and women. I wonder how an individual letter writer’s style changes — I mean, it’s sort of odd that one person would do a line-by-line review of a woman’s CV but be general about a man’s. And yet that seems to happen. Do people think they’re *helping* women by subjecting them to that level of scrutiny (if I evaluate everything, no one can say I didn’t offer a comprehensive review)? Many details to ponder.

It also makes me wonder about the role of letters in tenure cases that fail. Sadly, I know more women who have not gotten tenure (in all cases I’m aware of, the women had excellent, well-received jobs and recovered by getting stellar next jobs) but I know more men whom I’d consider weak cases (mediocre research and/or poor teaching). Aside from the obvious gender divide, I’m not sure how to account for the troubling difference, and it makes me wonder how many letters screwed over women or boosted men.

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by ej http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2426640 Sun, 31 Aug 2014 12:24:41 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2426640 Very timely-and disconcerting. I just submitted my list of external reviewers to my chair in phase of one of my tenure application this year!

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by anonymous grad http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2426633 Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:33:41 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2426633 Wow, that is terribly depressing. I’m at least glad to hear that you’ve noticed these discrepancies in your own committee work, and tried to work against them, instead of taking them at face value as pure reflections of individual merit or lack. I hope people on the ground like you can help make others in decision-making positions more conscious. Studies help to quantify general trends, but people saying “yes, I have observed this in our field, too!” are absolutely necessary to counter academic exceptionalism.

(Freeing, though? Being free to be unemployed is cold comfort!)

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2426517 Sun, 31 Aug 2014 03:58:06 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2426517 On the service: of course there’s a double-standard, undine! To take a page out of your book, it’s a feature, not a bug!!!

Although it’s depressing, this information is quite freeing. They’re going to say we’re undeserving bitches no matter what. We don’t control how we’re perceived or evaluated, so we might as well just let it rip and do what we want to.

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Comment on This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters by undine http://www.historiann.com/2014/08/30/this-just-in-men-favored-over-women-in-employee-evaluations-and-tenure-review-letters/comment-page-1/#comment-2426512 Sun, 31 Aug 2014 03:22:42 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=23161#comment-2426512 I knew in a general way that women were at a disadvantage, but holy jumping catfish, Historiann! The policing of tone and perceived aggressiveness in the article was bad enough, but your experience on the T & P committee was an eye-opener. I had no idea that women’s dossiers would be subjected to that kind of picky review, although it doesn’t surprise me that evidence of awesomeness for male candidates would include that kind of “it’s not a bug–it’s a feature!” logic.

I wonder, too, if there’s a double-edged service sword here, as in women might be faulted if they don’t have enough (“not a team player”) but faulted as in “she should have done more scholarship” if there’s too much. Having just turned down yet another opportunity to be a Handmaiden to Greatness, doing all the work and getting none of the credit, I’m willing to bet that a lot of that commentary about “abrasive personality” has to do with women who said no to service.

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