Gender and EERs
Considering “The Case for Diversity” (January issue) and “Foreign
Service Promotion Statistics” (February), one thing the Department
could change is its routine use of gender pronouns and personal
names in the EER review panel system. Studies show that gender,
ethnic and racial discrimination are significantly reduced when
evaluators are not permitted access to data that give away the
subject’s gender, ethnicity and race.
One such study reported by Steven Levitt at the University of
Chicago compared the likelihoods of getting a job interview with the
exact same résumé but a different name on top of the résumé (e.g.
John Williams versus DeShawn Williams or DeShawna Williams).
Result: different likelihoods of getting the interview.
Perhaps the Department could create a system wherein gender pro-
nouns and personal names of employees are withheld or concealed
from the tenure and promotion panel members to defend against
subconscious stereotyping and prejudice. This measure could also
serve to limit the biasing effects of privileged information that some
panel members may have on a given employee they are evaluating.
Ironically, the Department has already eliminated mention of such
merit-based information as educational degrees, but still includes
such birth-based information as gender and personal names.
Since panels do not meet with employees than can be absorbed by the local job
anyway, eliminating gender pronouns and market. Combine this with the very high Let Us Hear from You
personal names from the EER review panel percentage who are fluent in Spanish and
system would seem a small yet meaningful you get very fertile ground for recruitment.
change for the better. I'm sure the Department would not Mailing Address
want for volunteers to travel on recruit- State Magazine
Donald Kilburg ment trips to this beautiful island paradise. 2401 E Street, NW
Foreign Service officer Just let me know where to sign up. HR/ER/SMG, SA-1, Room H-236
U.S. Embassy, Santo Domingo Washington, DC 20522-0108
Raphael A. Mirabal
Puerto Rico Deputy Executive Director
Since I am of Puerto Rican descent via HR/EX E-mail
New York City, or a Newyourican as we call firstname.lastname@example.org
ourselves, I was glad to see an article on Final Postings
Puerto Rico in the February issue. I'd like I just wanted to tell you how much I
to point out two small mistakes, however. enjoy all of the excellent reporting, articles
First, Puerto Rico is the smallest of the and other news items you and your team at
Greater Antilles and not the largest of the State Magazine make happen. One relative-
Lesser Antilles. Second, the island of ly new column is your own "The Last
Culebra is a part of Puerto Rico and not Letters should not exceed 250
Word." Through it you always present an
the Spanish Virgin Islands. excellent wrap-up of a given issue, but what words and should include the
I would also like to point out that the I like best is your sign-off, acknowledging writer’s name, address and daytime
Department has been remiss in launching and recognizing our "colleagues en route to phone number. All letters become
an active and viable recruiting effort on the their final postings." Very nice. Very appro- the property of State Magazine.
island. This is a significant omission, given priate. And so very thoughtful. Letters will be edited for length,
that State has only two underrepresented accuracy and clarity. Only signed
minority groups and they are American Tim Lawson letters will be considered. Names
Indians and Hispanics. The island's popula- Foreign Service officer may be withheld upon request.
tion has a much higher level of education U.S. Embassy, Seoul
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