The current study assessed the impact of three brief interventions aimed at influencing implicit gender bias in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. The reduction of this bias is a key consideration as it remains a major barrier to gender equality in STEM. The interventions (psychoeducation, exposure to positive counter-stereotypical exemplars and perspective-taking) were compared to a control group at two timepoints. Gender-STEM bias was assessed at the implicit level (via the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure; IRAP) and the explicit level (via rating scales). Two hundred and ten adults (58.1% women) completed one of the four study conditions. Results indicated that implicit gender-STEM bias is malleable, at least in the short term. At Time 1, intervention groups showed higher levels of implicit pro-Women-STEM bias and lower levels of pro-Men-STEM bias than the Control group. Psychoeducation appeared most effective, followed by exposure to positive counter-stereotypical exemplars. Results from Time 2 presented a more complex picture of implicit bias change, as the control group exhibited an increased pro-Women-STEM bias that was unexpected. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to refining the interventions, the malleability of gender-STEM bias and the measurement of implicit bias across contexts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank all of the participants who volunteered their time for this study. The first author was supported by a Government of Ireland Scholarship from the Irish Research Council (Grant No. GOIPG/2016/699). The development of the perspective-taking intervention was supported by UCD SEED funding (Grant No. SF1344) (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Research Stream) awarded to the third author.
© 2020, The Author(s).
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Gender bias
- Implicit bias
- Implicit relational assessment procedure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science