Julie E. Phelan, Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, and Laurie A. Rudman, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
COMPETENT YET OUT IN THE COLD: SHIFTING CRITERIA FOR HIRING REFLECT BACKLASH TOWARD AGENTIC WOMEN
Version of Record online: 11 NOV 2008
© 2008 Division 35, American Psychological Association
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 32, Issue 4, pages 406–413, December 2008
How to Cite
Phelan, J. E., Moss-Racusin, C. A. and Rudman, L. A. (2008), COMPETENT YET OUT IN THE COLD: SHIFTING CRITERIA FOR HIRING REFLECT BACKLASH TOWARD AGENTIC WOMEN. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32: 406–413. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2008.00454.x
- Issue online: 11 NOV 2008
- Version of Record online: 11 NOV 2008
- Initial submission: January 13, 2008Initial acceptance: March 31, 2008Final acceptance: May 22, 2008
We present evidence that shifting hiring criteria reflects backlash toward agentic (“masterful”) women (Rudman, 1998). Participants (N= 428) evaluated male or female agentic or communal managerial applicants on dimensions of competence, social skills, and hireability. Consistent with past research, agentic women were perceived as highly competent but deficient in social skills, compared with agentic men. New to the present research, social skills predicted hiring decisions more than competence for agentic women; for all other applicants, competence received more weight than social skills. Thus, evaluators shifted the job criteria away from agentic women's strong suit (competence) and toward their perceived deficit (social skills) to justify hiring discrimination. The implications of these findings for women's professional success are discussed.