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Tyler Cowen

Of Course Stereotypes Are Holding Women Back

A new workplace study just documented a gender-based job-promotions gap linked to disparate assessments of “potential.” Bias isn’t the only explanation, just the most convincing one.

Red or green?

Red or green?

Photographer: Ruben Earth

Is there a gender-based promotion gap? Are there too many women who do well on the job, but are not considered seriously for career advancement?

Some new supporting evidence has come to light. A recent study using a database of almost 30,000 management-track employees at a large retail chain found that the women received higher job-performance ratings, but lower ratings for “potential.” Those same women were also promoted less, although they ended up performing better than their male counterparts. Perhaps most significantly, almost half of the promotion gap correlated with the lower ratings of “potential.”