, Volume 41, Issue 7-8, pp 509-528

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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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine someof the factors that influence outside reviewers andsearch committee members when they are reviewingcurricula vitae, particularly with respect to the gender of the name on the vitae. The participants inthis study were 238 male and female academicpsychologists who listed a university address in the1997 Directory of the American PsychologicalAssociation. They were each sent one of four versions of acurriculum vitae (i.e., female job applicant, male jobapplicant, female tenure candidate, and male tenurecandidate), along with a questionnaire and aself-addressed stamped envelope. All the curricula vitaeactually came from a real-life scientist at twodifferent stages in her career, but the names werechanged to traditional male and female names. Althoughan exclusively between-groups design was used to avoidsparking genderconscious responding, the resultsindicate that the participants were clearly able todistinguish between the qualifications of the jobapplicants versus the tenure candidates, as evidenced bysuggesting higher starting salaries, increasedlikelihood of offering the tenure candidates a job,granting them tenure, and greater respect for theirteaching, research, and service records. Both men andwomen were more likely to vote to hire a male jobapplicant than a female job applicant with an identicalrecord. Similarly, both sexes reported that the male job applicant had done adequate teaching,research, and service experience compared to the femalejob applicant with an identical record. In contrast,when men and women examined the highly competitive curriculum vitae of the real-life scientist whohad gotten early tenure, they were equally likely totenure the male and female tenure candidates and therewas no difference in their ratings of their teaching, research, and service experience. There was nosignificant main effect for the quality of theinstitution or professional rank on selectivity inhiring and tenuring decisions. The results of this study indicate a gender bias for both men and womenin preference for male job applicants.