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Who Belongs? Cultural Stereotypes Influence Gender Disparities in Science and Technology

  • Ada's Technical Books and Cafe 425 15th Avenue East Seattle, WA, 98112 United States (map)

Join us and Dr. Sapna Cheryan at our first summer salon event at Ada's Technical Books and Cafe in Capitol Hill. 

The event is $5 or Free for 500 Women Scientists members with a Discount Code. to purchase tickets, please visit Ada's event page.

Description: Despite having made significant inroads into a variety of traditionally male-dominated fields, women continue to be underrepresented in fields including computer science. Many theories have been put forth to explain this phenomenon, ranging from innate female inferiority in quantitative skills to an unwillingness by women to put in late hours. Dr. Cheryan’s research shifts the explanation for this under representation away from women’s deficiencies and instead examines whether it is the image of computer science, fueled by inaccurate stereotypes, that interferes with women’s ability to see themselves in these fields. Dr. Cheryan’s research demonstrates that current perceptions of computer scientists deter women, but not men, from the field. However, when the field’s prominent stereotypes are altered using environments and role models, women express more interest in computer science. Broadening the image of who does computer science may be fundamentally important to reducing gender disparities in the field.

Dr. Sapna Cheryan is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington. She earned a BA in psychology and American Studies at Northwestern and a PhD in psychology from Stanford University. Her research interests include identity, stereotypes, and prejudice, and she has published numerous articles on these topics in journals such as Psychological ScienceJournal of Personality & Social Psychology, and Psychological Bulletin. Her work has been cited widely in the media, including in the New York TimesNPR, and the Wall Street Journal. In 2012–13, she was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City. She has just returned from a fellowship with the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Studies at Stanford University.