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Implicit Indicators of Women's Persistence in Math, Science, and Engineering
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by Lora E. Park, Kathleen E. Cook, and Anthony G. Greenwald - University of Washington
Categories: Gender | Social
The disproportionate dropout rate of female college students from math, science, and engineering (MSE) fields has recently received much attention (Brainard, Laurich-McIntyre, & Mobley, 1995; Carlin, 1997). The reasons for women's higher attrition rate from MSE fields remain unclear. Eighty 1st-year university students with a preexisting interest in MSE completed a computer task—the Implicit Association Test (IAT)—that measured identification with MSE, gender stereotypes regarding MSE, and attitudes toward MSE on an implicit, nonconscious level. Results indicated that women showed less implicit identification with MSE than did men, and that men showed stronger implicit stereotypes about MSE being "male" fields. Surprisingly, although men and women held negative implicit attitudes toward MSE, they did not differ significantly from each other in their implicit MSE attitudes. These results may have implications for better understanding women's persistence in MSE.