Women remain underrepresented in many important areas of business and society, but especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This research evaluates a “Scientific Diversity” workshop, which aims to make university teachers aware of their biases, reduce these biases and motivate them to engage in actions that strengthen women’s participation in their field.  

Mounting experimental evidence suggests that subtle gender biases favoring men contrib­ute to the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and math­ematics, including many subfields of the life sciences. However, there are relatively few evaluations of diversity interventions designed to reduce gender biases within the STEM community. Because gender biases distort the meritocratic evaluation and advancement of students, interventions targeting instructors’ biases are particularly needed. We evaluated one such intervention, a “Scientific Diversity” workshop, which was administered to a sample of life science instructors (N = 126) at several sessions of the National Academies Summer Institute for Undergraduate Education held nationwide. Findings indicated the efficacy of the work­shop, in the sense that participants were more aware of gender bias, expressed less gender bias, and were more willing to engage in actions to reduce gender bias two weeks after they participated in the workshop compared to two weeks before the intervention. Implications for diversity interventions aimed at reducing gender bias and broadening the participation of women in the life sciences are discussed.

Download the paper:
Moss-Racusin, C. A., Van der Toorn, J., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M., & Handelsman, J. (2016). A “scientific diversity” intervention to reduce gender bias in a sample of life scientists. CBE—Life Sciences Education.