Excellence and Gender Equity in Science and Technology Program

September 20, 2018

8:00-8:30        Registration and refreshments

8:30-8:45        Opening remarks

8:45-9:15         Speaker: Carla Fehr

Change the World, Not the Women

Abstract: A wide range of benefits arises from increasing the diversity of science and technology research and development teams. Diversity drives innovation, improves the rigor of scientific research, and leads to the creation of knowledge that can serve a broad spectrum of society. It is also clear that our girls and women deserve the same opportunities as our boys and men enjoy, to excel in science and technology education and careers. When it comes to diversity, doing the right thing and doing the smart thing can be one and the same. However, too often efforts to increase diversity try to shoehorn women into systems created by and for white men. When this happens, the benefits arising from diversity evaporate. As a result, successful diversity interventions need to open our culture and our institutions to welcome the differences diverse people bring to the table. 

9:15-10:30       Engendering Success in STEM Panel


10:30-10:45      Break


10:45-12:00     Education Stakeholder panel

12:00-12:45     Speaker: Andrei Cimpian

The Roots of Gender Gaps in STEM: Children’s Stereotypes about Intellectual Ability

Abstract: Common stereotypes associate high-level, “raw” intellectual ability (brilliance, genius, etc.) with men more than women. These stereotypes discourage women’s pursuit of many prestigious careers, including those in science and engineering. But the roots of these disparities stretch back to childhood: In my talk, I will present evidence suggesting that “brilliance = men” stereotypes are acquired early—almost as soon as children enter school—and become stronger with age. Once acquired, gender stereotypes about raw ability begin to erode girls’ confidence that they can succeed in domains where such ability is valued; they also predict girls’ lower interest in such domains. These findings suggest that gendered notions of brilliance are acquired early and are likely to play a role in shaping the gender gaps observed in STEM.


12:45-1:45       Lunch (food and refreshments provided)


1:45-2:30         Speaker: Amanda Diekman

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. 

2:30-3:45         Speaker: Industry Stakeholder panel


3:45-4:00         Break


4:00-4:45         Speaker: Corinne Moss-Racusin

Roadblocks and Roadmaps to Gender Equality in STEM

Abstract: Despite efforts to recruit and retain more women, a stark gender disparity remains across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and gender bias may be a contributing factor. This persistent underrepresentation speaks to the importance of developing innovative and effective diversity interventions aimed at increasing awareness of and ultimately reducing bias. In this talk, I will first present evidence of systematic biases against women in STEM, focusing on the different manifestations and consequences of these biases. I will then discuss a program of ongoing research testing novel evidence-based interventions aimed at ameliorating gender biases in STEM. Throughout, I will highlight implications for professional meritocracy, diversity, and gender parity.

4:45-5:30         Speaker: Katherine Phillips

Capturing the Real Value of Diversity: Building Relationships and Changing Cultures

Abstract: What are the benefits of diversity in teams? Twenty years of research examining the performance, feelings of confidence, and efficacy of diverse and homogeneous teams highlights the inherent tension that exists in diverse environments – diverse teams perform better but they have less confidence and efficacy than homogeneous teams. How might we move forward knowing that this inherent tension is actually the source of the real value of diversity? How can individuals build relationships across boundaries and influence organizational cultures to create environments that are conducive to capturing diversity’s potential benefits? Application of this work to women and men in STEM fields will be considered.

5:30- 5:40        Closing remarks for the day


5:40-6:40         Reception and poster session

The program for the Engendering Success in STEM Consortium researcher-partner meetings on September 21, and graduate student training sessions on September 22 will be available closer to the event date.

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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.

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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