Program

IS27-01-2

What Keeps Women out of the hard Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math ?Gender Stereotypes more than Testosterone

[Speaker] Huguet, Pascal:1
1:CNRS (France)

Women are underrepresented in STEM fields and careers, and the origin of this gender gap remains highly controversial. Some have suggested gender differences in math ability and ultimately mental rotation ability (possibly reflecting differences in pre-natal exposure to testosterone), whereas others have considered social and cultural forces, such as gender stereotyped expectations on math tests and the fear to be reduced to negative stereotypes (stereotype threat). Here, we provide evidence of such forces in children as well as graduate women at the top of math-science-engineering education, indicating that even girls and women who succeed in math or math intensive fields do so in spite of a real obstacle. Using a sample of dizygotic twins, we also show first evidence that stereotype threat, not testosterone, explains the well-established male advantage in 3-D mental rotation tasks.These findings show how powerful stereotypes can be in the formation and maintenance of gender differences.
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