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May 19, 2012

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Tim Newman

When people are invited to believe that something is "man's work", men step up their effort whilst women become weedy girlies.

Does the same effect occur when men are asked to do what is perceived to be women's work? If so, then this effects both sexes, not just women.

aliquid

This is quite interesting, is their any other similar findings or is it just this one?


In other news... COMMMEEEE ONNNNNN WEEESSSTTT HAAAAAMMMMMMM!!!!! IRRONNNNSSSS!!!!

Ahem...

chris

@ Tim - the paper reports zero effects for gender-neutral work. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a simlar effect for "women's work" - eg when married men are worse at housework than single ones. But the point is that economically and politicaly powerful jobs tend to be "men's work", with the result that stereotype threat empowers men and disempowers women.

David Jones

Does it strike you as at all plausible that there are no between-group differences?

Andrew

" On the other hand, in the task that
is perceived to favor women the effect is positive for both men and women"

So, isn't this experiment saying that men compete better than women? That they are not vulnerable to stereotype threat?

Why wouldn't you preferentially employ that trait?

Torquil Macneil

One fairly simple way to partially address this problem is a return to education segregated by sex. There is plenty of evidence that women who go to girls' schools have less sexually stereotypical careers.

redpesto

"one perhaps unjust prejudiced stereotype I have - that female/feminist writers are apt to rely on unscientific anecdotes and focus upon trivial everyday irritations."

...because the feminists who 'get science' aren't the ones writing about 'unscientific anecdotes and [...] trivial everyday irritations'? (See Ben Goldacre's criticisms of the arts background of a lot of journalists?)

redpesto

"There is plenty of evidence that women who go to girls' schools have less sexually stereotypical careers."

Except that doesn't seem to work for boys-only schools, and it's mathematically impossible to have both single-sex schools for girls and a leavening of girls to ensure the boys do well.

Torquil Macneil

Redpesto, I haven't seen any evidence that boys are disadvantaged by single sex education, so what is the cost?

redpesto

Redpesto, I haven't seen any evidence that boys are disadvantaged by single sex education, so what is the cost?

But that's the thing: the research is usually into the impact of single-sex education for girls, with a side order of feminism-lite ('those nasty boys won't hog all the lab equipment'), as in this article. As for boys, there is what I'm tempted to call a 'stereotype threat' that all-boys environments turn into 'Lord of the Flies' without a 'civilising' female presence, as in this article. The rest is mathematics...or rather it isn't, because the figures won't add up to make both strategies work.

This, of course, is in relation to state schools: an expensive private education could probably outweigh a lot of gender stereotyping these days. Plus, there's not much of a 'narrative' or incentive for boys to choose 'less sexually stereotypical careers.'

redpesto

On the other hand, maybe a boys' school enables boys to enjoy the arts (complete with inevitable picture from The History Boys): http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/jan/20/single-sex-schools-boys-arts

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