Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Patrick J Rosopa, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Mary A Taylor

Committee Member

Jennifer Bisson

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate why there is a lack of female leadership in the STEM fields. Literature shows that there are a variety of gender stereotypes that may be an impediment to women seeking leadership roles in the STEM fields. The present study combined information about gender stereotypes regarding leadership ability and gender stereotypes regarding math and reasoning ability in attempt to explain the lack of female participation and leadership in the STEM fields. An implicit association test (IAT) was administered to measure implicit gender stereotypes about leadership, and IAT scores had the expected positive relationships with neosexism and modern sexism. There were significant gender differences in IAT scores, neosexism, modern sexism, and concern about discrimination. However, all groups of participants indicated stereotypical associations pairing men with leadership traits and women with follower or supporter traits. STEM status made no difference in participants’ subscription to implicit gender leadership stereotypes. Implications of negative leadership stereotypes for women in the workplace are discussed, along with limitations, suggestions about how to attenuate the effects of gender stereotypes in the workplace, and directions for future research.

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