The abrasiveness trap: High-achieving men and women are described differently in reviews
This article collected performance reviews from men and women in tech, and analyzed the feedback employees are getting.
The results showed that women are criticized more often, and receive far more direction to be more agreeable.
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.