10/01/2014 10:47 am ET Updated Oct 01, 2014

Stop Telling Women Not To 'Take Things Personally': Ed Champion And The Plague Of Gendered Criticism

Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images

This past Saturday, the New York Times published a piece called “Learning to Love Criticism,” by Tara Mohr, a self-help author whose forthcoming book is called “Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message.” In the piece, Mohr revealed the results of a study undertaken by the linguist/entrepreneur Kieran Snyder and published by Fortune magazine. The study looked at performance reviews as a window on how criticism in the workplace is often indelibly gendered; as Snyder recalls in the Fortune article, it was inspired by a conversation with an engineering manager who was wary of promoting an employee because she was too “abrasive.” The incident, she recalled, “got me wondering how often this perception of female abrasiveness undermines women’s careers in technology.”

The results put numbers and percentages to something that most women already know — that, far more than their male colleagues, evaluation of their work is inseparable from evaluation of them as acceptable women.

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