Identifying and Reducing Gender Bias in STEM: Systematically Synthesizing the Experimental Evidence

Female scientist at microscope

Researchers are debating whether biases against women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have reduced over time, persist in nearly all training and career contexts, or vary in more nuanced ways across contexts and STEM fields. AIR is synthesizing four decades of research to understand the postsecondary and workforce contexts in which bias against women in STEM remains especially pernicious and the interventions that can most effectively reduce such biases.

This project will integrate high-quality experimental evidence on the existence of, and strategies to reduce, gender bias in STEM fields, including how gender bias may intersect with other identities such as race and ethnicity. Biases favoring men could thwart women’s training and careers in STEM fields in many ways, but research also suggests promising interventions for changing biased cultures and structures.

The work ultimately aims to help organizations (a) disrupt the culture of peer and mentor discrimination that could directly block women’s entry into STEM fields and (b) mitigate the accumulated experiences of discrimination and exclusion that could drive women out of STEM. Dissemination of project findings will especially focus on actionable insights for higher education institutions, such as bias reduction strategies that male and female STEM faculty can adopt in their teaching, mentoring, and service activities.