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Title: Women's adaptation to STEM domains : generalised effects on judgement and cognition
Author: Di Bella, Laura
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2013
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The chronic underrepresentation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) fields is a recognised, and widely investigated, social issue. This thesis reports a programme of research testing whether women's experience in STEM can have a psychological impact that extends beyond their academic domain. Four studies examined the differential effects of counter-stereotypical experiences on women from STEM and non-STEM fields. Results provided only partial support to the hypothesis, with two studies detecting a differential effect of exposure to counter-stereotypical priming, and two studies detecting superior STEM women's performances regardless of priming condition. Further investigation is required to interpret more accurately both the broader impact of chronic exposure to challenging experiences, and also the interaction between such experiences and further counter-stereotypical priming. Hopefully, this will support the call for a novel perspective on the issue of promoting women's entry to STEM field; that is, exploring not only the barriers that keep women away from the sciences, but also the benefits associated with entering those fields. Four more studies investigated whether exposure to stereotyping not only reduces women's willingness to engage in STEM, but stifles broader egalitarian concerns. Only one study broadly supported the hypothesis, by showing that women exposed to gender-occupational stereotypes felt less angry about the condition of women in STEM, endorsed more the negative stereotypes about women in STEM, and were marginally more resistant to social change in general. This line of research has the potential to highlight the importance of tackling gender stereotypes not only because they exclude women from maledominated careers, but also because of a potentially pervasive negative impact on broader egalitarian concerns. By exploring the issue of women in STEM from novel perspectives, this thesis contributes to the public and scholarly debate of the impact of stereotyping and gender inequalities in STEM fields.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: BF Psychology