Understanding resistance towards increasing gender diversity in masculine domains
: The role of intergroup threat

  • Amy Jones

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The present doctoral thesis project aimed to provide a deeper understanding of men’s resistance towards increasing gender diversity in traditionally masculine domains. Using the theoretical framework of the Intergroup Threat Theory (Stephan, Ybarra & Morrison, 2009), a conceptual model was developed in order to systematically investigate the role of realistic threat, symbolic threat, and gender identification in driving men’s resistance towards woman and diversity efforts in fields in which men have traditionally been the majority group. Six empirical studies and a mini meta-analysis were conducted to address three specific facets of men’s resistance: (1) why there is resistance towards increasing gender diversity in masculine domains, (2) for whom this resistance may be strongest, and (3) how this resistance can potentially be reduced.

The major finding across all studies was that men’s resistance towards increasing gender diversity was driven primarily be realistic threat perceptions. Whilst this effect was seen amongst all men, it was also suggested that realistic threat-based resistance maybe strongest amongst individuals who are highly identified with their gender, although the evidence for this was inconclusive. These findings are discussed in light of their theoretical contribution to previous literature, as well as their potential practical implications in terms of informing interventions and gender diversity initiatives in the future.

Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorIoana Latu (Supervisor) & Rhiannon Turner (Supervisor)


  • psychology
  • gender
  • diversity
  • identity
  • equality

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