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Linking Stereotype Threat and Anxiety

Title: Linking Stereotype Threat and Anxiety


Summary: (abstract)

Claude Steele’s stereotype threat hypothesis has attracted significant attention in recent years. This study tested one of the main tenets of his theory—that stereotype threat serves to increase individual anxiety levels, thus hurting performance—using real‐time measures of physiological arousal. Subjects were randomly assigned to either high or low stereotype threat conditions involving a challenging mathematics task while physiological measures of arousal were recorded. Results showed significant physiological reactance (skin conductance, skin temperature, blood pressure) as a function of a stereotype threat manipulation. These findings are consistent with the argument that stereotype threat manipulations either increase or decrease situational‐specific anxiety, and hold significant implications for thinking about fair assessment and testing practices in academic settings.


Between Scylla and Charybdis: the Perils of Reporting Sexual Harassment

Title: Between Scylla and Charybdis: the Perils of Reporting Sexual Harassment

Links: pdf


Judicial opinions on sexual harassment portray reporting as the only reasonable course of action for the woman who finds herself the target of sexual harassment in the workplace. The hazards of reporting rarely are discussed, because the law assumes that employers are objective, nondiscriminating entities that do not tolerate harassment in the workplace and that employers’ and victims’ interests coincide. Nothing is further from the truth. Reporting does not solve the harassment problem within an organization, because reporting is a solution to an individual problem. Harassment is not an individual problem; it is an organizational problem.


Marriage Structure and Resistance to the Gender Revolution in the Workplace

Title: Marriage Structure and Resistance to the Gender Revolution in the Workplace


Summary: (abstract)

In this article, we examine a heretofore neglected pocket of resistance to the gender revolution in the workplace: married male employees who have stay-at-home wives. We develop and empirically test the theoretical argument suggesting that such organizational members, compared to male employees in modern marriages, are more likely to exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are harmful to women in the workplace. To assess this hypothesis, we conducted four studies with a total of 718 married, male participants. We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion. The consistent pattern of results found across multiple studies employing multiple methods and samples demonstrates the robustness of the findings. We discuss the theoretical and practical import of our findings and suggest directions for future research.

Swimming Against the Unseen Tide

Title: Swimming Against the Unseen Tide



 We conducted a study to determine how male and female physicists are evaluated in the classroom and used videotaped lectures in which professional actors – two male and two female – played the role of a physics professor. They each gave a 10-minute physics lecture to a class of students that included blackboard work, a demonstration, and a question-and-answer session. None of the actors were trained in physics but all received the same preparation and memorized the same script.

We then showed each of 126 physics students the lecture by one (chosen at random) of the four “professors” and got them to fill out a survey in which they rated various aspects of the lecture using a five-point scale. The students supplied some personal information but not their own gender, which was noted covertly by the person collecting the surveys.

Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering

Title: Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering


Summary: (abstract)

Social psychological research on gendered persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions is dominated by two explanations: women leave because they perceive their family plans to be at odds with demands of STEM careers, and women leave due to low self-assessment of their skills in STEM’s intellectual tasks, net of their performance. This study uses original panel data to examine behavioral and intentional persistence among students who enter an engineering major in college. Surprisingly, family plans do not contribute to women’s attrition during college but are negatively associated with men’s intentions to pursue an engineering career. Additionally, math self-assessment does not predict behavioral or intentional persistence once students enroll in a STEM major. This study introduces professional role confidence—individuals’ confidence in their ability to successfully fulfill the roles, competencies, and identity features of a profession—and argues that women’s lack of this confidence, compared to men, reduces their likelihood of remaining in engineering majors and careers. We find that professional role confidence predicts behavioral and intentional persistence, and that women’s relative lack of this confidence contributes to their attrition.

The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All The Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?

Title: The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All The Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?

Link: pdf


In this report we address the question of whether the gender gap persists because women and men adopt different strategies to advance their careers. Is it the case that men are more proactive, articulating their aspirations and asking for more opportunities? Are men more likely to be an “ideal worker,” doing “all the right things” to get ahead?

The short answer is no. Among the high potentials we studied, more than half of both women and men had adopted the full range of advancement strategies attributed to an ideal worker. Furthermore, half of those exemplifying an ideal worker were also including in their repertories external scanning activities— seeking advancement opportunities whether in their current organization or elsewhere.

However, men benefitted more than women when they adopted the proactive strategies of the proverbial ideal worker. Even when women used the same career advancement strategies—doing all the things they have been told will help them get ahead—they advanced less than their male counterparts and had slower pay growth.

Mentoring and Promotions with Men and Women

Title:  Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women



Are women as likely as men to get mentoring? Yes.

They’re actually more so: In the 2008 Catalyst survey, 83% of women and 76% of men say they’ve had at least one mentor at some point in their careers. Indeed, 21% of women say they’ve had four or more mentors, compared with 15% of men.

Does mentoring provide the same career benefits to men and women? No.

Among survey participants who had active mentoring relationships in 2008, fully 72% of the men had received one or more promotions by 2010, compared with 65% of the women.

Do men and women have the same kinds of mentors? No.

In 2008, 78% of men were actively mentored by a CEO or another senior executive, compared with 69% of women.

More women than men had junior-level mentors: 7% of women were mentored by a nonmanager or a first-level manager, compared with 4% of men.

Though both groups had more male than female mentors on balance, 36% of women had female mentors, whereas only 11% of men did.

Women in Management: Delusions of Progress

Title: Women in Management: Delusions of Progress



The accepted message on gender disparity in the workplace has for the past 10 to 15 years been one of acknowledgment and reassurance: Yes, women represent just 3% of Fortune500 CEOs and less than 15% of corporate executives at top companies worldwide, but give it time. It’ll change. After all, women also make up 40% of the global workforce, with double-digit growth in certain countries. They’re earning advanced professional degrees in record numbers and in some areas surpassing men. Companies have implemented programs to fix structural biases against women and support their full participation in leadership. Women are finally poised to make it to the top, the argument goes. Not yet, but soon.

If only that were true. New research by our firm, Catalyst, shows that among graduates of elite MBA programs around the world—the high potentials on whom companies are counting to navigate the turbulent global economy over the next decade—women continue to lag men at every single career stage, right from their first professional jobs. Reports of progress in advancement, compensation, and career satisfaction are at best overstated, at worst just plain wrong.

What’s in a name?

Title:  What’s in a name? Study shows that workplace discrimination begins long before the job seeker shows up for an interview



Dr. Marianne Bertrand, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Dr. Sendhil Mullainathan, MacArthur-winning associate professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have made a significant contribution to the research literature with their new study, “Are Emily and Brendan More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.”

With names chosen from birth records in Chicago and Boston, the researchers crafted sets of resumes–some of higher quality, some of lower–labeled them with either “White-sounding” or “Black-sounding” names and sent nearly 5,000 of them out in response to 1,300 jobs advertised in the Chicago and Boston papers.

The response from colleagues as they designed their deceptively simple study was, “‘Oh, yes, you’ll find a discrimination effect, a reverse discrimination effect,'” Bertrand says.

Instead, they found that resumes with “White-sounding” names–like Jay, Brad, Carrie and Kristen–were 50 percent more likely than those with “Black-sounding” names to receive a callback. The results were striking, holding both for jobs at the lower end of the spectrum–cashier and mailroom clerk positions–and for those at the executive level. Put another way, a White job seeker would have to send out at least 10 resumes to receive a single contact from a potential employer. A Black candidate, meanwhile, would have to send out 15–and this in a “soft” economy with a relatively low rate of new job creation.

Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors.

Title: Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors.


Summary: (abstract)

Double-blind peer review, in which neither author nor reviewer identity are revealed, is rarely practised in ecology or evolution journals. However, in 2001, double-blind review was introduced by the journal Behavioral Ecology. Following this policy change, there was a significant increase in female first-authored papers, a pattern not observed in a very similar journal that provides reviewers with author information. No negative effects could be identified, suggesting that double-blind review should be considered by other journals.