Resistance towards Increasing Gender Diversity in Masculine Domains: The Role of Intergroup Threat

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Abstract

Efforts to increase diversity can often be met with resistance amongst high-status groups. Despite this, little is known about majority group responses towards increasing gender diversity, and the psychological mechanisms underlying these. Across five studies, we extended the Intergroup Threat Theory to advance understanding of resistance towards gender diversity amongst men in masculine domains (Studies 1-3 & 5) and women in feminine domains (Study 4). Experimental evidence from male STEM students (Study 1) and professionals (Studies 2 & 5) revealed that realistic threats underlie resistance. Experimentally reducing realistic threat (N = 165) reduced negative reactions. Whereas realistic threat-based resistance towards increasing gender diversity did not extend to women in female dominated domains (Study 4, N = 105), there was a tendency for women high in ingroup identity to show a similar pattern to men. We discuss how we advance theory on diversity resistance, and discuss strategies which may effectively reduce resistance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGROUP PROCESSES & INTERGROUP RELATIONS
Publication statusAccepted - 09 Aug 2021

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