Interpreting letters of reference

Letters of recommendation (or ‘references’) for job candidates can differ depending on whether the candidate is a man or a woman. For candidates of equal merit, letters of recommendation written for women are likely to be, for example, shorter, to emphasise supportive attributes rather than leadership qualities, and to contain few superlatives. These differences may reflect an unconscious bias among writers of such letters, who are usually senior men. By bearing in mind the possibility that men and women candidates could be described differently, members of selection panels may be able to moderate these differences and so minimise the effect of the bias.

To improve employment prospects for women, you could:

Recognise that references are difficult to write
Be alert to stereotypes
Recognise the scope of the reference
Interpret ‘faint praise’
Allow for the potential for leadership
Understand candidates’ own unconscious bias

Recognise that references are difficult...

 

 

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Fractional and flexible working policies

Flexible and fractional (part-time) working are two key tools for employers who want to recruit and retain women, and support women wanting to return to the workforce after a career break. People are attracted to fractional and flexible working arrangements for many reasons, not least of which is balancing work with caring responsibilities, which still rest predominantly on women’s shoulders.

Companies that offer and support a variety of working patterns can benefit from a pool of highly qualified but under-utilised women. Fractional and flexible working can also promote a positive working culture and increase productivity, and support staff who want to enhance their qualifications. Considered implementation can also help to reduce the gender pay gap.

Understand employees’ rights and needs
Encourage positive attitudes to flexible and fractional working
Keep flexible and fractional colleagues involved
Establish a positive culture of flexible and fractional working

A ...

 

 

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Attracting and retaining female employees

Recruiting more women is key to addressing the shortage of qualified STEM professionals, and a strong commitment to recognising what women want from a job, and fulfilling those needs, will help you increase the number of women in your workp...

Advocacy & Policy

Boitshoko Phalatse Q&A: Widening participation in STEM, a catalyst to scaling innovation and social mobility
Q&A with Boitshoko Phalatse, after her presentation from the Finding Ada Conference 2020. Synopsis This session will look at marrying old ...

Boitshoko Phalatse: Widening participation in STEM, a catalyst to scaling innovation and social mobility
Boitshoko Phalatse's presentation from the Finding Ada Conference 2020. Synopsis This session will look at marrying old school methodologies with new ...

Erika Pessôa Q&A: Raising women’s voices with Somos Cintia Podcast
Q&A with Erika Pessôa, after her presentation from the Finding Ada Conference 2020. Synopsis Somos Cintia is a podcast that has ...

Erika Pessôa: Raising women’s voice with Somos Cintia Podcast
Erika Pessôa's presentation from the Finding Ada Conference 2020. Synopsis Somos Cintia is a podcast that has women, technology and gender ...

Launching and Running an Advocacy Group
Panel discussion from t...

 

 

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