Women choose more precise words than men when applying for grant funding — guess who’s more successful?

Women scientists are less likely to win funding for grants, even when they’re evaluated anonymously, according to a recent working paper distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The apparent driving force: Women’s penchant for using “narrow” words in their grant proposals, versus men’s tendency toward “broad” words.

The researchers, who analyzed 6,794 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant proposals spanning a decade, also found that the text-based criteria that drove reviewers’ selections didn’t necessarily weed out weaker proposals. In fact, study co-author Julian Kolev told MarketWatch, “Grant awards that were based on broad language actually ended up, fairly often, underperforming the awards proposals that had narrower language.

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