I completed an undergraduate degree in computer science and worked as a computer programmer for 10 years. Then I went back to school and earned a PhD in Psychology. I am aware of the “leaky pipeline”, and the intense interest in understanding why women drop out of STEM fields, which leaves me wondering about my own experience in leaving computer science (though Psychology is a STEM field too). What I have come to realize is that barriers to greater gender equality are both external (often unintentional biased behaviour from others) and internal (people hold themselves back). I was fascinated to hear about the (corporate) research finding that women tend not to apply to a job unless they match all the job specifications, whereas men will apply if they meet even a few of the job specifications. Now that I know, I have pushed myself to apply for things even when I haven’t feel fully qualified. But of course that may affect how I am perceived by others. These personal issues have led to me pursuing research questions related to gender:
- What encourages/prevents people from asking questions? Do men and women ask different kinds of questions? Are they perceived differently when they ask the same questions?
- Do women and men tend to help in different ways? Do people avoid helping in ways that are gender non-stereotypic because they fear judgment?
Click to access each publication and each media article. If you would like to read a paper, but can’t access it, please email me and I’d be happy to send a copy for your personal use. Click here for resources.
Sandstrom, G.M., Croft, A., Gibson, H., Carter, A.J. (under review). People draw on gender stereotypes to judge question-askers, but ther eis no such thing as a gender-stereotypic question.
- Pre-print: https://psyarxiv.com/7eq8j/
Atkinson, C., Buie, H., Sandstrom, G. M., Aknin, L.B., Croft, A. (2021). Testing the GRIP: An empirical examination of the Gender Roles Inhibiting Prosociality model. Sex Roles, 85(7), 440-462.
Croft, A., Atkinson, C., Sandstrom, G.M., Orbell, S., Aknin, L.B. (2021). Loosening the GRIP (Gender Roles Inhibiting Prosociality) to promote gender equality. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 25(1), 66-92.
Carter, A.J., Croft, A., Lukas, D., Sandstrom, G.M. (2018). Women’s visibility in academic seminars: women ask fewer questions than men. PLoS ONE.
- Pre-print: https://arxiv.org/abs/1711.10985
- Data available publically at: https://edmond.mpdl.mpg.de/imeji/collection/XYQyxkvXOAClc33O
Selected Media Coverage
- Nature. Dec 1, 2022. “Men dominate conference Q&A sessions — including online ones“
- Behavioral Scientist. Jun 19, 2019. “Who asks questions, and what it tells us“
- BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour. Jan 3, 2019. “Cerrie Burnell, Elizabeth Warren, Holidays, Speaking up, Forced marriage” (starts at 9min20sec).
- The Conversation. Mar 29, 2018. “When men ask more questions: a glimpse of ordinary sexism in the academic world”
- Times Higher Education. Dec 12, 2017. “Men ‘much more likely to ask questions in seminars’ than women”
- The Economist. Dec 7, 2017. “Women ask fewer questions than men at seminars”
Gender differences in question-asking at academic seminars. Babraham Institute, Mar 2021.