Interrogating the Durability of Gender Stereotypes and Representation Among University Faculty in Cross-National Perspective

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Connie MCNEELY, George Mason University, USA
Lisa FREHILL, National Science Foundation, USA
A great deal of recent research has demonstrated the durability of occupational sex segregation and inequality in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, among others.  Assumptions grounded in gender stereotypes, typically treating them as static and broadly applicable, have played an important role in framing this research and interpreting related findings.  While addressing related questions regarding occupational sex segregation and differentiation in general, we focus on the gendered positions, structures, and dynamics in academia, especially given that it is the “training ground” for the STEM workforce and arguably operates largely to define and determine professional roles and relationships.  More to the point, we consider how assumptions attached to gender stereotypes are reflected – or not – in faculty representations and professional life chances and trajectories.  In doing so, we interrogate and challenge some of the basic assumptions attending studies of STEM occupational determinants with the aim of providing a more detailed and encompassing understanding of the relationships in question.  We offer a two-phased analysis involving both horizontal and vertical examinations of related issues.  First, we provide a cross-national analysis that engages world polity and cultural institutionalist perspectives on gender relations across STEM fields.  In particular, we employ the index of gender dissimilarity to map the extent of differentiation in occupational outcomes among men and women.  Second, we look to selected countries and to institutional and disciplinary delineations to provide a more detailed and finer grained analysis.  We consider contextually relevant factors, in terms of constraints and enablers, across different levels and units of analysis.  Moreover, we look especially to policy and programmatic efforts that address women’s participation in STEM.