Hi Adam—thanks for responding to my letter. I agree that men are sometimes passed up for opportunities as well and that deserves to be discussed as well. Perhaps you could write more about that issue if it’s one you care about?
I will say that there are many reasons to believe that women have a widespread disadvantage in the workplace compared to men equally as capable as them, and are judged more harshly for asking for a raise compared to men. This issue is more complex than simply who does or does not speak up. To be honest, I was not familiar with some of these facts a few years ago, but here are some eye-opening findings:
- Investors preferred entrepreneurial ventures pitched by a man than an identical pitch from a woman by a rate of 68% to 32% in a study conducted jointly by HBS, Wharton, and MIT Sloan. “Male-narrated pitches were rated as more persuasive, logical and fact-based than were the same pitches narrated by a female voice.”
- In a randomized, double-blind study by Yale researchers, science faculty at 6 major institutions evaluated applications for a lab manager position. Applications randomly assigned a male name were rated as significantly more competent and hirable and offered a higher starting salary and more career mentoring, compared to identical applications assigned female names.
- When men and women negotiated a job offer by reading identical scripts for a Harvard and CMU study, women who asked for a higher salary were rated as being more difficult to work with and less nice, but men were not perceived negatively for negotiating.
- Psychology faculty were sent CVs for an applicant (randomly assigned male or female name), and both men and women were significantly more likely to hire a male applicant than a female applicant with an identical record.