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Bias Busting

Black woman astronaut
September 25, 2014

Women faculty, especially women of color, are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), despite more than 40 years of Title IX, affirmative action, and concerted efforts to "equip the women," "level the playing field," and "value diversity." Research has failed to identify innate gender differences that would explain this lack of gender parity. Instead, cultural factors seem to drive what Yale astrophysicist Meg Urry calls a "slow drumbeat of [women] being underappreciated, feeling uncomfortable, and encountering roadblocks along the path to success."

Using a model of cultural change developed by Stanford social psychologists, SPARQ is researching, developing, and implementing several techniques to change STEM cultures so that they better support women faculty and faculty of color. These interventions will also likely enhance everyone's ability to collaborate in large, multicultural, andmultidisciplinary teams.