Clara Finger

Gender Bias in Letters of Recommendation: Effect of Writer and Target Gender on Length of Recommendation Letter

Letters of recommendation are commonly used in selection processes. Previous studies have found differences in language and length of recommendation letters by gender, particularly in programs and careers related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The purpose of this study is to examine gender bias in letters of recommendation in terms of the letter’s length and subsequent quality. This meta-analysis combines the existing literature on length of recommendation letters by gender of the writer and target. Overall, the length of recommendation letters does not differ significantly between applicant gender. However, female letter writers crafted longer letters on average in comparison to male writers.