You are on page 1of 2

Gender Bias in STEM Fields: Variation in Prevalence and Links to STEM Self-Concept

By Rachael D. Robnett

This academic article is a report of the study conducted by Rachael Robnett on gender
bias in STEM fields. She discusses three major portions of gender bias: variation in the
prevalence of gender bias based on the current level of education, implications of gender bias on
girls and womens STEM self-concept, and whether or not peer support can provide a buffering
effect on the lower self-concept. She originally hypothesized that women in more
underrepresented groups would have the highest level of gender bias. This meant that she
believed that women in graduate level, math-intensive studies would face the most bias. Then
women in in undergraduate STEM fields would face the next high amount, followed by high
school girls with the least amount. However, she found out that women in undergraduate math-
intensive majors encountered the most gender bias. This could be to a number of reasons
including that women might leave the STEM field before reaching the graduate level, as well as
gender bias could just be more prevalent in college than at the graduate level. Her study also
found that women who encountered gender bias also had a lower STEM self-concept, meaning
that they did not feel they could succeed as well in STEM fields. This is mainly attributed to the
fact that these women felt they did not belong in STEM fields because of the bias, therefore they
felt they could not succeed. However, it was found that women who have a good support
network within the STEM fields still had high STEM self-concept. Lastly, Robnetts study found
that male peers provide more gender bias to their female counterparts than female peers,
teachers/professors, and mentors.
This articles purpose was to define the study conducted by Rachael Robnett, and to show
the results. The main audience of the article would be people interested in gender bias, people
who read the Psychology of Women Quarterly, or people who follow Robnetts work. She met
the genre conventions of a typical academic journal by the way it was structured. The article was
separated into sections including the introduction, background information, hypotheses, method,
procedure, results, discussion, and conclusion. She also included an abstract at the top of the
paper as well as all of her sources at the bottom. The study conducted was very thorough and
well explained, therefore it is credible. Not only that, but the article was found in the Psychology
of Women Quarterly, which gives the article more authority as well. Also, Rachael D. Robnett is
on the faculty of the University of Nevada in their department of psychology. Therefore, the
article and its contents can be perceived as credible. Robnetts design choices also made the
article easier to understand. Not only did she divide the paper as described above, but she also
included subheadings which made it easier to follow. Since her study had three main portions,
each part of the article was then divided into these three portions as well. Therefore, if you were
only interested in one of three, you could easily skim through the article and study only the ones
that apply to you. Since this was about study that was conducted there is also visual portions of
the paper. All of the graphs and tables flow neatly with the paper, and help explain the points that
Robnett is trying to prove.
References
Robnett, Rachael D. "Gender Bias in STEM Fields." Psychology of Women Quarterly, vol. 40,
no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 65-79. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0361684315596162.

Summary 2

Rachael Robnett conducted an experiment to determine whether or not girls and women face
gender bias while trying to pursue an education in STEM fields. Through the data that she
collected, it showed that women at the undergraduate level, pursuing an education in a math-
intensive STEM program would face the most amount of gender bias than any other level of
education. Robnett proves that gender bias is relevant today, and because of the bias that some
women face they dont pursue an education or a career in the math-intensive STEM fields such
as physics and engineering.