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Join WiM in celebrating International Women in Math Day with a discussion on "The Social “Threatwork”: Connecting Women's Exclusion from STEM Social Networks to Implicit and Explicit Gender Stereotypes" with Dr. Hilary Bergsieker. Everyone is welcome!

The Social “Threatwork”: Connecting Women's Exclusion from STEM Social Networks to Implicit and Explicit Gender Stereotypes


When, why, and with what effect are women sometimes excluded from informal social networks in STEM fields? Drawing on social identity threat and structural hole theories, a series of studies assess social network dynamics that may limit women's full inclusion in STEM circles. 

In experiments with 1,065 Waterloo undergraduates enrolled in male-dominated STEM majors (including math), women (but not men) anticipated repetitional penalties if they associated with a woman who expressed stereotypically feminine interests. Women whose social network positions gave them less brokerage (i.e., reduced ability to manage information flows between unconnected friends) were less willing to befriend and socially integrate other women with feminine- (vs. STEM-) stereotypic interests. Next, in field research with 1,247 full-time employees working at North American STEM organizations, men who held stronger STEM=male implicit associations reported less often choosing to socialize with their female teammates. In turn, for women at these same organizations, receiving fewer social ties from male teammates was associated with worse workplace outcomes: lower engagement, self-efficacy, and feelings of fit, plus greater concerns about being judged on the basis of gender at work. Finally, a series of mathematical simulations model the estimated impact of men intervening to counteract gender bias and support women's full inclusion in STEM workplaces. Implications for advancing gender inclusion in STEM fields are discussed.

Bio - Dr. Hilary Bergsieker

Dr. Hilary Bergsieker is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Waterloo, where she leads the Diversity and Intergroup Relations Lab and serves as her department's Program Area Lead for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism. Her training in experimental social psychology and social policy was completed at Stanford University (Bachelors) and Princeton University (PhD). Dr. Bergsieker has expertise in trust formation and maintenance in diverse groups, social network analysis, and bias reduction. She was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science and won the Rogers' Woman of the Year award for excellence in STEAM. As a Fellow of the Engendering Success in STEM research consortium, she collaborates with industry partners to use evidence-based interventions to advance the inclusion and success of women and other underrepresented groups in science, tech, engineering, and math. 

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Women in Math at the University of Waterloo's flyer for International Women in Math Day. Dr. Hilary Bergsieker will hold a discussion on "The Social “Threatwork”: Connecting Women's Exclusion from STEM Social Networks to Implicit and Explicit Gender Stereotypes" on May 12th from 10:30-11:30.

200 University Ave W
Waterloo ON N2L3G1

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Women in Mathematics