• 10.10.16

Female scientists get worse recommendation letters than men

A new study of over 1,000 letters of recommendation for postdoctoral fellowships found that women tended to get less glowing praise than their male counterparts. 

The international study classified letters as “excellent” if they contained phrases like “scientific leader” or “brilliant scientist.” The rest of the letters had descriptors such as “very productive” or “very knowledgeable.”

Only a fifth of all letters were “excellent.” 15% of female applicants fell into that camp, while 24% of men’s letters did. 

This might be one reason that women only hold 10% of geoscience professorships, although they constitute 40% of all doctoral degree holders. 

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