Professors reveal their gender bias and hurt female science students when they write letters of recommendation describing them as “hard-working,” “kind,” or “conscientious,” one lecturer told Oxford physics students last month.
Athene Donald, a Cambridge experimental physics prof, recounted her Oxford lecture in a blog post republished by Times Higher Education. She claims that “gendered adjectives” in letters of recommendation are a “significant detriment to the woman’s progression even without a sexist intent.”
“Gendered adjectives,” which should supposedly be avoided, also include “dependable,” “warm,” and “diligent,” according to a University of Arizona guide [pdf] that Donald references.
Fortunately, “fucking stupid” is satisfyingly generic.