Career Effects of Gender Stereotypes

StudyingOn a recent episode of Family Anatomy entitled The Anatomy of Gender, Dr. Brian and I discussed our experience with gender roles and some of the implications related to research in this area. An interesting study from the University of Michigan further expands on some of the issues touched upon in our show. Girls and boys have an equal ability to achieve in math and science. However, it is equally clear that their ability to achieve in these areas has not been matched by actual achievement. Men still greatly outnumber women in the fields of math and science. In the research mentioned above, University of Michigan psychologist Dr. Pamela Davis-Kean found that dads play a significant role in determining whether girl’s abilities are translated into women’s engagement and performance in math and science. Her longitudinal study looked at 800 kids over a 13-year period. Dr. Davis-Kean and her colleagues found that girls’ interest in math decreases as their fathers’ gender stereotypes increase, whereas the opposite was found for boys. That is, boys’ interest in math increases along with an increase in their fathers’ gender stereotypes.

Are you aware of how your gender bias may be affecting your children? Are you actively trying to counteract your bias, or are you resigned to the gender differences you perceive? Leave us a comment.

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