Michela Menegatti, Monica Rubini, Marco Giovanni Mariani

Gender discrimination in personnel selection: The implicit role of language abstraction

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Keywords: Gender discrimination, linguistic abstraction, personnel selection, language, se- lection linguistic bias

This contribution examines linguistic discrimination toward women in the context of personnel selection. It has been analysed the level of language abstraction of the terms used to compose the evaluations of applicants for a job position advertised by an Italian bank group. Results showed that selectors describe female candidates with positive terms at a lower level of abstraction and negative terms at a higher level of abstraction than male candidates. Moreover results replicated the evidence of a more general selection linguistic bias. The implications of results with reference to linguistic abstractness as a powerful means of discrimination toward women in work contexts and as a device to overcome legal norms against gender discrimination at work are discussed

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