Maybe She Is Relatable: Increasing Women’s Awareness of Gender Bias Encourages Their Identification With Women Scientists

Evava S. Pietri, India R. Johnson, Ezgi Ozgumus, Alison I. Young

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In the current research, we explored whether informing women about gender bias in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) would enhance their identification with a female scientist and whether this increased identification would in turn protect women from any adverse effects of gender bias information. We found that, relative to a control information condition, gender bias information promoted beliefs that a successful woman (but not a man) scientist had encountered bias and encouraged identification with that woman scientist. Feelings of empathic concern was an important mechanism underlying this increased identification (Experiments 2 and 3). Moreover, when presented with a man scientist, information about gender bias in STEM decreased female participants’ anticipated belonging and trust in a STEM environment, compared to participants in a control information condition (Experiment 1a and 1b). However, identifying with a woman scientist after learning about sexism in STEM fields alleviated this harmful effect. Finally, compared to those in the control condition, women college students who learned about gender bias reported greater interest in interacting with a woman STEM professor at their university (Experiment 3). Our results suggest that interventions that teach women about gender bias in STEM will help women identify with women scientists. Additional online materials for this article are available on PWQ’s website at

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)192-219
    Number of pages28
    JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


    • gender gap
    • intervention
    • sciences

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Gender Studies
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • General Psychology


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