Complete Schedule

Title

Women in STEM: Does Role Congruence Affect Major Choice and Retention?

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

College majors--Sex differences--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Science--Study and teaching (Higher)--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Technology--Study and teachings (Higher)--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Mathematics--Study and teaching (Higher)--Iowa--Cedar Falls;

Abstract

Only 16.3% of U.S. undergraduates in 2007 planned to major in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and only 2.6% of those were female (Higher Education Institute, 2015). Female students may be drawn away from STEM majors because they perceive STEM majors as more male appropriate. Due to the disproportionate rate of men to women in STEM, women could be receiving cues that STEM is not for them (Cheryan, Plaut, Davies, & Steele, 2009). Both male and female students perceive majors that are role congruent with the female gender role as being more communal, and majors that are role congruent with the male gender role, such as STEM (Brown, Thoman, & Smith, 2015), as being more agentic (Stout et. al., 2016). Gender roles may also associate analytical skills with men (Leslie, Meyer, & Freeman, 2015), which suggests that female gender roles and analytical skills associated with success in STEM are not role congruent (Diekman & Eagly, 2008). Using role congruity theory (Eagly & Karau, 2002), we examined how communal values, gender, perceptions of analytical skills, and ACT Math scores influence choice of and retention in STEM majors using data from 1,566 first year incoming freshmen from the University of Northern Iowa who took the Fall 2012 Mapworks Transition Survey.

Start Date

4-4-2017 1:00 PM

End Date

4-4-2017 4:30 PM

Faculty Advisor

Helen Harton

Department

Department of Psychology

Comments

Location: Maucker Union Oak Room

Embargo Date

4-4-2017

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Apr 4th, 1:00 PM Apr 4th, 4:30 PM

Women in STEM: Does Role Congruence Affect Major Choice and Retention?

Only 16.3% of U.S. undergraduates in 2007 planned to major in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and only 2.6% of those were female (Higher Education Institute, 2015). Female students may be drawn away from STEM majors because they perceive STEM majors as more male appropriate. Due to the disproportionate rate of men to women in STEM, women could be receiving cues that STEM is not for them (Cheryan, Plaut, Davies, & Steele, 2009). Both male and female students perceive majors that are role congruent with the female gender role as being more communal, and majors that are role congruent with the male gender role, such as STEM (Brown, Thoman, & Smith, 2015), as being more agentic (Stout et. al., 2016). Gender roles may also associate analytical skills with men (Leslie, Meyer, & Freeman, 2015), which suggests that female gender roles and analytical skills associated with success in STEM are not role congruent (Diekman & Eagly, 2008). Using role congruity theory (Eagly & Karau, 2002), we examined how communal values, gender, perceptions of analytical skills, and ACT Math scores influence choice of and retention in STEM majors using data from 1,566 first year incoming freshmen from the University of Northern Iowa who took the Fall 2012 Mapworks Transition Survey.