Women in STEM: A Research Guide

This guide provides sources and research strategies for critical analysis of women in STEM fields. 

Picture a Scientist
A biologist, a chemist and a geologist lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences as women in the sciences, overcoming brutal harassment, institutional discrimination, and years of subtle slights to revolutionize the culture of science. 
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A Chemical Imbalance
A short but telling documentary that aims to highlight some of the persistent challenges still faced by women, and hopes to contribute to the wider debate about how we can progress towards equality.

Draw a Scientist Studies

For decades, educators and researchers have been asking children to "draw a scientist." The following articles look at whether or not there has been any progress in the bias of children's drawings being predominantly men, to being more inclusive of women. 

Miller, D. I., Nolla, K. M., Eagly, A. H., & Uttal, D. H. (2018). The development of children's gender‐science stereotypes: A meta‐analysis of 5 decades of U.S. Draw‐A‐Scientist studies. Child Development, 89(6), 1943-1955.

Terada, Y. (2019, May 22). 50 years of children drawing scientists. Edutopia.

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 Kim, J. Y., & Meister, A. (2023). Microaggressions, interrupted: The experience and effects of gender microaggressions for women in STEM. Journal of Business Ethics, 185(3), 513-531. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-022-05203-0

 James, J. J., Klevenow, E. A., Atkinson, M. A., Vosters, E. E., Bueckers, E. P., Quinn, M. E., Kindy, S. L., Mason, A. P., Nelson, S. K., Rainwater, K. A. H., Taylor, P. V., Zippel, E. P., & Hunter, S. K. (2023). Underrepresentation of women in exercise science and physiology research is associated with authorship gender. Journal of Applied Physiology, 135(4), 932-942. https://doi.org/10.1152/JAPPLPHYSIOL.00377.2023

Friedmann, E., & Efrat-Treister, D. (2023). Gender bias in STEM hiring: Implicit in-group gender favoritism among men managers. Gender & Society, 37(1), 32-64.

Mattheis, A., Marín-Spiotta, E., Nandihalli, S., Schneider, B., & Barnes, R. T. (2022). "Maybe this is just not the place for me:" Gender harassment and discrimination in the geosciences. PLoS One, 17(5), e0268562.

Greenfieldboyce, N. (2022, Jan. 11). Who gets to use NASA's James Webb Space Telescope? Astronomers work to fight bias. NPR Morning Edition.

Bloodhart, B., Balgopal, M. M., Casper, A. M. A., Sample McMeeking, L. B., & Fischer, E. V. (2020). Outperforming yet undervalued: Undergraduate women in STEM. PLoS ONE, 15(6), 1–13. 

Fisher, C. R., Thompson, C. D., & Brookes, R. H. (2020). “95% of the time things have been okay”: The experience of undergraduate students in science disciplines with higher female representation. International Journal of Science Education, 42(9), 1430–1446.

Burke, K. L. (2017). Harassment in science. American Scientist, 105(5), 262–264. 

Clancy, K. H., Lee, K. N., Rodgers, E. M., & Richey, C. (2017). Double jeopardy in astronomy and planetary science; Women of color face greater risks of gendered and racial harassment. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 122(7), 1610-1623.

Cook, M. (2017). Implicit bias in academic medicine: #WhatADoctorLooksLike. JAMA, 177(5), 657-658.

Dee, T., & Gershenson, S. (2017). Unconscious bias in the classroom: Evidence and opportunities. Mountain View, CA: Google Inc. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/O6Btqi.

McGee, E. O., & Bentley, L. (2017). The troubled success of Black women in STEM. Cognition & Instruction, 35(4), 265–289. 

Banchefsky, S., Westfall, J., Park, B., & Judd, C. (2016). But you don’t look like a scientist!: Women scientists with feminine appearance are deemed less likely to be scientistsSex Roles, 75(3–4), 95–109. 

Robnett, R. D. (2016). Gender bias in STEM fields: Variation in prevalence and links to STEM self-concept. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 40(1), 65–79. 

Schulte, B. (2015). Black and Latina women scientists sometimes mistaken for janitors. WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post.

Charlesworth, T. E. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2019). Gender in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: Issues, causes, solutions. Journal of Neuroscience, 39(37), 7228–7243.

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▶  This symbol indicates a source with a focus on BIPOC women in STEM.

Spotlight: Rachel Carson

Hess, A. (2012, Sept. 28). 50 years after Silent Spring, sexism persists in science. Slate.

Johnson, V. (2014, Aug. 7). An all-male panel is no way to honour Rachel Carson. The Guardian.

Stoll, M. (2012). The personal attacks on Rachel Carson as a woman scientist. Environment & Society Portal. Retrieved from www.environmentandsociety.org. 

Smith, M. B. (2001). “Silence, Miss Carson!” Science, gender, and the reception of “Silent Spring.” Feminist Studies, 27(3), 733–752.

Image of Rachel Carson in this box (upper right) licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The "Yale Study" (2012)

Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male studentsProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(41), 16474-16479. 

In 2012, researchers from Yale published the above article on gender bias in the sciences. This article got popular press coverage, and has been heavily cited since. Here is how its findings were covered and discussed:


Spotlight: Emily Temple-Wood

In 2012, Emily Temple-Wood began the WikiProject Women Scientists. In 2016, she committed to starting a Wikipedia page for a woman in science every time she received a harassing e-mail.

She is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago (molecular biology) and Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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