The Impact of Gender on the Review of the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study

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Springer Verlag

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The purpose of this study was to determine some of the factors that influence outside reviewers and search committee members when they are reviewing curricula vitae, particularly with respect to the gender of the name on the vitae. The participants in this study were 238 male and female academic psychologists who listed a university address in the1997 Directory of the American Psychological Association. They were each sent one of four versions of a curriculum vitae (i.e., female job applicant, male job applicant, female tenure candidate, and male tenure candidate), along with a questionnaire and a self-addressed stamped envelope. All the curricula vitae actually came from a real-life scientist at two different stages in her career, but the names were changed to traditional male and female names. Although an exclusively between-groups design was used to avoid sparking gender conscious responding, the results indicate that the participants were clearly able to distinguish between the qualifications of the job applicants versus the tenure candidates, as evidenced by suggesting higher starting salaries, increased likelihood of offering the tenure candidates a job,granting them tenure, and greater respect for their teaching, research, and service records. Both men and women were more likely to vote to hire a male job applicant than a female job applicant with an identical record. Similarly, both sexes reported that the male job applicant had done adequate teaching,research, and service experience compared to the female job applicant with an identical record. In contrast,when men and women examined the highly competitive curriculum vitae of the real-life scientist who had gotten early tenure, they were equally likely to tenure the male and female tenure candidates and there was no difference in their ratings of their teaching, research, and service experience. There was no significant main effect for the quality of the institution or professional rank on selectivity in hiring and tenuring decisions. The results of this study indicate a gender bias for both men and women in preference for male job applicants.


Originally published by Springer Verlag. Publisher's PDF available through remote link.