A collective action approach to improving attitudes and self-efficacy towards gender equality among male STEM academics

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Despite the implementation of equality interventions within higher education, progress towards gender parity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) remains slow. Male educators often exhibit poorer engagement with diversity initiatives, potentially contributing to persisting gender disparities in STEM given men’s longstanding dominance in these programs. Two experiments investigate how equality interventions should be designed to maximize support from male educators. Experiment 1 (N = 72; Mage = 39.72, SDage = 12.33) used virtual reality to manipulate 2 factors among male academics: (1) exposure to gender inequality and (2) virtually taking the perspective of a female scientist. Using self-report and behavioral measures, viewing an empirical presentation outlining the prevalence of gender issues in STEM yielded the greatest support for equality initiatives following successful perspective-taking. Experiment 2 (N = 120; Mage = 32.48, SDage = 10.36) varied two additional factors among male academics: (1) evidence-based methods to reduce gender biases in STEM (i.e., promoting self-efficacy) and (2) blaming male academics for gender inequalities. Promoting self-efficacy and blaming men for disparities led to greater confidence in male academics’ ability to address gender inequalities in their field. Notably, higher self-efficacy accounted for greater support for equality initiatives and internal motives to engage with diversity programs. Findings provide an empirical framework and high-tech training tools for promoting engagement with diversity initiatives among male educators, informing development of interventions within higher education to improve student and faculty experiences in STEM.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Early online date11 May 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 11 May 2024


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