Gender and EERs
  Considering “The Case for Diversity” (January issue) and “Foreign
Service Promotion...
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2007 State Mag Article March 2007 P3


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2007 State Magazine letter on Gender and EERs. Perspective on performance evaluation tool at State.

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2007 State Mag Article March 2007 P3

  1. 1. READERS’ FEEDBACK 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 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 Phone First, Puerto Rico is the smallest of the and other news items you and your team at (202) 663-1700 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 MARCH 2007 | S TAT E M A G A Z I N E | 3