Tag Archive | 2011

Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering

Title: Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering

Link: http://asr.sagepub.com/content/76/5/641.abstract

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.

From “In the Air” to “Under the Skin”: Cortisol Responses to Social Identity Threat

Title: From “In the Air” to “Under the Skin”: Cortisol Responses to Social Identity Threat

Link: http://psp.sagepub.com/content/37/2/151.abstract

Summary: (abstract)

The authors examined women’s neuroendocrine stress responses associated with sexism. They predicted that, when being evaluated by a man, women who chronically perceive more sexism would experience more stress unless the situation contained overt cues that sexism would not occur. The authors measured stress as the end product of the primary stress system linked to social evaluative threat—the hypothalamic—pituitary—adrenal cortical axis. In Study 1, female participants were rejected by a male confederate in favor of another male for sexist reasons or in favor of another female for merit-based reasons. In Study 2, female participants interacted with a male confederate who they learned held sexist attitudes or whose attitudes were unknown. Participants with higher chronic perceptions of sexism had higher cortisol, unless the situation contained cues that sexism was not possible. These results illustrate the powerful interactive effects of chronic perceptions of sexism and situational cues on women’s stress reactivity.