My friend BB sent me a link to this article, which analyzes unconscious gender bias in job candidate letter of recommendations.
Recommendation letters could cost women jobs, promotions
A recommendation letter could be the chute in a woman's career ladder, according to ongoing research at Rice University. The comprehensive study shows that qualities mentioned in recommendation letters for women differ sharply from those for men, and those differences may be costing women jobs and promotions in academia and medicine.
The research team also noted that letter writers included more doubt raisers when recommending women, using phrases such as "She might make an excellent leader" versus what they used for male candidates, "He is already an established leader."
"Subtle gender discrimination continues to be rampant," Hebl said. "And it’s important to acknowledge this because you cannot remediate discrimination until you are first aware of it. Our and other research shows that even small differences -- and in our study, the seemingly innocuous choice of words -- can act to create disparity over time and experiences."
Right now, I'm writing several letters for students and so it makes me pause to think if I might not be reproducing any of these tropes in my own recommendations: