Broadening perspectives to broaden participation: A goal congruity model of gender gaps in STEM pursuits

Abstract: Investigating how people view the goals afforded by social roles can inform understanding of role entry, engagement, and exit. Through the lens of goal congruity, I will explore women’s lower participation in some STEM fields, relative to men and to other male-stereotypic fields. Gender roles emphasize communal attributes for women, but many STEM fields are consensually perceived as unlikely to afford communal goals. Motivational benefits accrue from activities that disrupt these stereotypic expectations – that is, those that highlight how STEM roles afford communal goals or that lead people to consider the broader purpose of STEM work. I will present data examining cognitive and behavioral pathways to fostering communal goal opportunities in STEM, as well as curricular and cocurricular recommendations. 

Amanda DiekmanDr. Diekman is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. She is a social psychologist who investigates how stereotypes stem from and reinforce the social structure, with an emphasis on change and stability in gender roles. Her current work, funded by the National Science Foundation, explores stereotypes that STEM fields do not afford opportunities to connect or help others. She and her research group are particularly interested in understanding how communal opportunities in STEM can motivate students from underrepresented groups.

Science and Technology in Society Teaching Group

Interested in how science, technology, and society interact? Find out more information about the Science and Technology in Society Teaching Group professors and the undergraduate courses they teach at the University of Waterloo.

Feminism and Science Research Group

In the Feminism and Science Research Group we conduct research that is unified by attention to justice and the social nature of scientific, technological and medical research. We are interested in research policy, practice, education and implementation. Details