NSF ADVANCE-PAID Program: Development of a Subtle Gender Bias Index (SGBI) to better understand micro-inequities within academic settings
Women in academic science, technology, engineering, and math fields (STEM) face subtle gender biases that are often difficult to pinpoint and measure. Following Stereotype Threat Theory (Steele & Aronson, 1995), we hypothesize there to be an indirect effect of subtle gender biases on tenure and promotion rates through psychological well-being and sense of belongingness to one’s workplace. Our current NSF ADVANCE PAID project is designed to remedy this situation. In conjunction with the University of Massachusetts Worcester, analysis of 19 individual interviews with STEM women at 2 universities reveal subtle biases pertaining to attitudes, visibility of women’s work, access and allocation to resources (formal & informal), mentoring, clarity of and assistance with promotion & tenure, and hostile cultural climates.
The interview results have informed the development of a Subtle Gender Biases Index (SGBI) that includes items across multiple levels: institutional, departmental, interpersonal, and individual. This SGBI-Diversity Project seeks to (1) validate the Subtle Gender Biases Index (SGBI) for three groups of women of color (African American/Black, Asian/Asian American, Latina women); (2) assess the professional and personal impact of micro-biases on academic women of color; and (3) examine qualities of the setting as moderators of the impact of micro-biases. Next steps for SGBI development include continuing to refine items across all four levels and validate the measure.