Table 2

Phrases identified in reference letters to general surgery based on gender of applicant*

RankFemale applicantMale applicant
PhraseFrequencyProportion of letter’s words, %PhraseFrequencyProportion of letter’s words, %
1Technical skills441.61Knowledge base311.61
2Junior resident381.39Technical skills311.61
3Knowledge base381.39Work ethic311.61
4Work ethic381.39Communication skills211.09
5Hard working341.24Junior resident201.04
6Above average311.14Cognitive skills160.83
7Communication skills291.06Patient care150.78
8Pleasure to work230.84Research projects150.78
9Patient care210.77Above average130.68
10Support of application200.73Problem solving130.68
  • * The frequency is the number of times this phrase occurred in a combined document of all female or male applicant letters. The proportion of the letter’s words shows the percentage of the total words in the combined document of all female or male applicant letters that are the phrase words.