Communicating Gender-Equality Progress, Reduces Social Identity Threats for Women Considering a Research Career

2018 Social Sciences  
Since the majority of top-level researchers are men, how does this vertical gender-segregation affect students' perceptions of a research career? In the current study, an experimental manipulation either reminded students of academia's current dominance of men or of its improving gender-balance. The results showed that women primed with the dominance of men anticipated much higher social identity threats (e.g., fear of discrimination) in a future research career as compared to a control group.
more » ... o a control group. In contrast, women primed with the improving gender-balance anticipated much lower threat. Further, the dominance of men prime increased men's interest in the PhD program, as compared to controls. Women's interest was unaffected by the prime, but their lower interest as compared to men's across conditions was mediated by their lower research self-efficacy (i.e., competence beliefs). The results imply that communicating gender-equality progress may allow women to consider a career in research without the barrier of social identity threat.
doi:10.3390/socsci7020018 fatcat:3fjtf6muvnasxnadqcw3e5xjue