CIC Conference Poster Abstracts

Click below for summaries of the poster presentations from the CIC conference held 30-31 May 2018

How to get women into engineering? The usefulness of power posture interventions in improving attitudes to STEM subjects - an experimental investigation.

Magdalena Zawisza, Anglia Ruskin University



Women represent only 14.4% of the workforce in all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs, which limits the UK’s economy. Frequent exposure to gender stereotypes, may be one reason that decreases women’s STEM educational performance and job choices. This project presents an experimental test of a novel proposition to use power pose intervention as a booster of STEM-related attitudes in female students.


Two exploratory experiments tested whether power postures can increase female students’ interest in STEM subjects (Experiments 1 and 2) despite exposure to gender-biased content (Experiment 2). The findings show that sitting in an expanded posture increases attitudes to STEM (vs. caring) subject but exposure to gender-traditional advertising neutralises the positive embodied effects of power posture on STEM attitudes.


Educators should strive to reduce exposure to gender-stereotypical content in classroom context and promote alternative STEM-related role models. Women need to be aware of the negative effects of such content. Females will also benefit from exercising simple techniques such as power postures whenever they face STEM-related tasks. These techniques could enrich and complement STEM teaching strategies. Our insights are likely to benefit other underrepresented groups (e.g. ethnic minorities and individuals with disabilities) and to apply to other non-stereotypical domains.

This research is sponsored by BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant.

The Incompleted Revolution: A study on gender discrimination in personnel selection

Buscicchio Giulia; Milesi Patrizia, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan

This study aimed at investigating the recruiters’ choice between male and female candidates for the same vacancy. We hypothesized that it is influenced by gender stereotypical expectations on candidates, recruiters’ sexism level and moral foundations.

To examine such a hypothesis, we distributed on-line questionnaires to 82 recruiters (n=69 women, age=32,59, SD=6,62) working in an Italian employment agency. Starting from literature on gender prescriptive bias and gender prototypical traits (communal, female characteristics and agentic, male characteristics) to investigate gender stereotypical expectations we created four vacancies, balanced for sector (masculine and feminine) and level (upper and middle) for which participants had to choose between fictitious profiles of a male and a female candidate with manipulating prototypical traits (agentic vs. communal). Eventually, to analyze sexism we used the ASI (Ambivalent Sexism Inventory) and to analyze moral foundation the MFQ(Moral Foundation Questionnaire).
The variance analysis calculated on the probability of candidates’ choice (2Gender x 2Traits) revealed the main effect of traits caused by the highest probability to prefer an agentic candidate to a communal one. This evidence is stronger if candidates are women. Moreover, hostile sexism affects negatively all candidates far from the agentic prototype while moral foundation of care advances communal men.

Comparing dynamics of organisational and team identification on well-bring and organizational commitment in casual, fixed-term and permanent workers

Ilka H. Gleibs & Andrea Lizama Alvarado, London School of Economics and Political Science


Previous research has found inconsistent results about the impact of work status (permanent vs fixed term vs casual work) on attitudinal and behavioural outcomes. This study explores the topic from a social identity perspective and examines the effect of identity dynamics (e.g., team- and organizational identification; TID and OID) on job-related well-being and organizational commitment.

631 young professionals (236 men, 375 women, 20 not given) working in different jobs and organisations in Chile completed our survey. In a first step, we aimed at understanding whether different kind of people (in terms of gender, age, tenure, part-time etc.) had different works status (WS). For example, the percentage of women was higher among fixed-term (n=80; 72%) and casual ( n=91; 62%) contracts in comparison to permanent contracts (n=204; 52%; χ2(611)=9.86, p=.007). People with fixed-term or casual contracts are more likely to be female, younger, working part-time and in the public sector, whereas people with permanent contracts tend to be male, older, working full-time and in the private sector. Then, we conducted a multi-group path analysis to compare between three work statuses: permanent, fixed-term, and casual workers. Results showed that work status moderated the relationship between organizational and team identification, their predictors (job security, communication climate) and outcomes (job-related well-being, organizational commitment). For example, a positive communication climate had a stronger effect in permanent workers' levels of team and organizational identification, compared to fixed-term and casual workers' levels. Further, OID had a significant effect on well-being only in permanent and casual workers, but not in fixed-term workers. The opposite occurred with TID, which only had an impact on fixed-term workers' job wellbeing.

These findings offer an understanding of the dynamics of social identification in the workplace that are related to work status and provide a first approach to understand the impact of non-permanent statuses on outcomes such as well-being and commitment in the context of a country that is characterised by high rates of fixed-term and casual job agreements like Chile.

Fitting in without fitting in - women in engineering and authenticity.

Helen Johnson, Loughborough University


The original research proposal centred around authenticity of women in STEM and the benefits (or possibly disadvantages) of women being authentic in engineering environments. This research is about challenging male dominated environments to understand how a critical mass of women can change such cultures to further increase the number of women working in engineering (and not changing women so they fit in!).

Focus within STEM has been rightly placed on educational opportunities for women, however the question remains ‘what about the workplaces they will work in?’.

• What behaviours, attitudes and traits are defined within male dominated organisations? Are these attributed to a certain gender, strategy, deliverable, and the like?
• What behaviours, if any, have a ‘glass ceiling’ (or such related phenomena)?
• Are there, therefore, behaviours and cultures inherent within Engineering which act as barriers to females entering or developing in related roles?
• Do females change/adapt their behaviour to work in male dominated environments? And if so, can we measure the impact this have to the individual, the organisation and the economy?
• Do such organisations replicate and promote specific behaviours? If so, how and why? What impact does this have and, if the impact is detrimental, how do we overcome it?
• What does the 4th industrial revolution look like in relation to gender and how will this impact this research?
In researching this area, interest lies in the formulation of a practical end-solution (rather than just a theoretical paper) which can be of use and benefit to industry.



Gender Differences in Goal Pursuit Strategies

Dinah Gutermuth & Melvyn Hamstra, Maastricht University


In this research, we argue that men and women are socialized to perceive their goals in different ways as reflected in their focus of self-regulation: promotion regulatory focus versus prevention regulatory focus.  People with a promotion focus eagerly pursue their goals and focus on hopes and accomplishments. That means they pursue advancement, focus on positive outcomes, and are ready to take risks. People with a prevention focus vigilantly pursue their goals and they are primarily concerned about maintaining a secure status quo.

We argue that, because of a wide variety of gendered socialization that happens to men and women, in (young) adulthood, women should be more prevention focused, whereas men should be more promotion promotion focused. Results from eight different samples using a variety of nationalities, languages, and regulatory focus measurements (NTotal = 6000) support our predictions that women are on average more prevention focused whereas men are on average promotion focused.

Due to these differences, men and women use different goal-pursuit strategies and, therefore, our results may contribute to explaining gender disparity in high power positions. Specifically, being promotion focused has been linked to getting ahead in organizations and to being recognized. That women may learn that they are expected to construe their goals as obligations (i.e., are more prevention focused in adulthood) could explain why women do not make it to top-positions. Our insights can offer a first step toward the development of interventions that may encourage women to be more advancement oriented and grasp the opportunities in front of them.

Anger expression in the workplace : The impact of gender and ethnic group membership on perceived competence and hireability

Silvia Krauth-Gruber, Paris Descartes University


Previous research revealed that certain emotional expressions such as happiness, sadness, fear and shame are stereotypically associated with women while the expression of anger or pride are considered typical and appropriate for men (Plant et al 2000;Timmers, Fischer, & Manstead, 2003). Furthermore, specific emotional expressions have been shown to be associated with personality traits such as social dominance (Hareli, Shomrat &Hess, 2009) and social status and competence (Brescoll & Uhlmann, 2008). Two studies examined the relationship between emotional expression and status conferral as a function of gender, and ethnic group membership. In Study1 participants believed women and Africans to express a smile more frequently, and men, Asians and Caucasians to show an inexpressive face more often, and Asians to express anger less frequently. Study2 revealed that in a professional setting, smiling male Africans, angry looking female Africans and inexpressive Asian job candidates were perceived as less competent and less hirable compared to their gender– and ethnic counterpart. The theoretical implications and practical applications are discussed within Rudman and Fairchild’s (2004) integrative model of stereotype-based backlash according to which counterstereotypical behavior can result in social and economic reprisals.


Perception of sexism and its impact on the support of gender diversity politics in French-speaking universities in Belgium

Valerie De Cock, Caroline Closon & Sara Aguirre-Sanchez-Beato, Université libre de Bruxelles


In Belgium, only 15.6% of full professors are women (1). In Europe, this percentage drops to 21% (1). In literature, three groups of explanatory factors are identified for the underrepresentation of women in the academic career: societal, organisational and individual factors. Universities are implementing gender diversity politics and positive actions to combat these causes. The objectives of this study are twofold. First, it examines how awareness of the existing gap has an impact on the support for gender diversity measures. Secondly, it studies which gender diversity measures are most supported.

An online questionnaire has been distributed in the six French-speaking Universities of Belgium. It was composed of three scales: 1) the perception of sexism; 2) the level of knowledge of the disparity between women and men at the highest academic level; 3) the support for gender diversity politics. 1377 men and women of both scientific and academic bodies responded.

First, the results show that women perceive significantly more ambient sexism than men. Second, the study reveals that the support for gender diversity measures is explained by the perception of sexism, even when the variable “gender” is controlled. Third, the awareness of the existing disparity between men and women explains the support for gender diversity policies. Fourth, the study shows that the support for these policies varies according to two criteria: 1) gender; women support the policies more than men; 2) the type of policy: "awareness" policies are positively evaluated while “restrictive" actions are rejected by men and women.

(1) European Commission (2015) She figures 2015. Consulted 15/3/2017 on

Gendered Helping: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Stereotype-Restricted Prosocial Behaviour

Alyssa Croft & Ciara Atkinson, University of Arizona, USA

Gillian Sandstrom, University of Essex, UK

Lara Aknin, Simon Fraser University, Canada


Most people experience a boost to their well-being when they help others. However, men and women usually help in different ways; women tend to engage in nurturing helping behaviours, while men tend to engage in problem-solving or physical helping behaviours. We hypothesize that people are more likely to engage in prosocial behaviour if they think it will make them happy. We further hypothesize that people fear that others might judge them negatively for helping in a way that is inconsistent with gender stereotypes, and therefore they will not expect this kind of gendered helping to make them happy. As a result, a self-fulfilling cycle limits people from helping in gender-inconsistent ways in the future. Implications of the proposed research also include the potential for introducing gender equality to prosocial occupations in which men are under-represented. In a first test of this model, participants (N=264) read a scenario in which a person engages in gender-consistent or -inconsistent helping. Participants then provided their own ratings of the helper’s likability, warmth, competence, and status, and also estimated what they thought other people’s ratings would be. We found that people expected others to be harsher when judging a gender-inconsistent helper than were their actual judgments. This study highlights a novel invisible barrier that results from gender stereotypes. Bringing to light such invisible barriers will pave the way to interventions to overcome them, thus allowing all men and women to act in alignment with their own wishes without fear of judgment.

Investigating changes in descriptive and prescriptive gender stereotypes: An analysis of obituaries for female and male leaders from 1974 to 2016

Miriam K. Zehnter, Jerome Olsen, & Erich Kirchler, University of Vienna


Gender stereotypes constrain women’s career decisions, particularly in stereotypical male domains such as leadership. However, theory and empirical evidence regarding their changeability were hitherto divided. Social Role Theory (SRT) (Eagly & Woods, 2012) argued that observing increasing numbers of women in agentic roles changed the female stereotype towards more agency. Backlash Hypothesis (BLH) (Rudman, Moss-Racusin, Phelan, & Nauts, 2012) questioned the changeability of gender stereotypes arguing that any stereotype incongruent behavior might be punished. Consistently distinguishing between descriptive and prescriptive gender stereotypes might reconcile SRT and BHL. Consistent with SRT, descriptive stereotypes might change over time; while consistent with BLH, prescriptive stereotypes might not.

To investigate changes in descriptive and prescriptive gender stereotypes, we analyzed 1415 newspaper obituaries of female and male leaders from 1974 to 2016, covering a time-span of 42 years. The obituaries’ content was condensed to four categories: agency, competence, and communion were used to investigate changes in descriptive stereotypes. The category likability was used to infer changes in prescriptive stereotypes. Consistent with SRT, our results indicate changes in descriptive stereotypes. Female leaders were described as increasingly agentic and decreasingly communal over time. Simultaneously, our results support BLH indicating unchanged prescriptive stereotypes. Increases in female leaders’ agency were associated with decreases in likability. Overall, our results reconcile divided theories regarding the changeability of gender stereotypes. Furthermore, our results implicate that research and praxis need to enhance attention on prescriptive stereotypes as context factor to facilitate female leadership.

Don’t change a winning team – How high organizational identification can buffer the glass cliff

Anika Ihmels & Juergen Wegge, TU Dresden, Germany

Meir Shemla, Rotterdam School of Management, Netherlands


Women are more likely to reach top-leadership positions in times of crisis (glass cliff; GC). By appointing women as leaders in a crisis, organizations aim to signal strategic changes to stakeholders. As organizational identification (OI) promotes commitment to organizational goals, strong OI should promote the GC.

We conducted two vignette studies (N=94, N=192) and manipulated OI (low, high), organizational performance (success, crisis), additionally in Study 2: visibility (low, high), and gender of the previous leader (female, male). Participants rated competence, suitability and acceptance of two equally qualified candidates (female, male) and appointed a CEO.

Applying logistic regression, Study 1 confirmed an influence of OI and performance on appointment. However, women were appointed more often in conditions of success and low OI. Study 2 revealed interactions of performance, visibility, and gender of previous leader and of visibility, gender of previous leader, and OI on appointment.

We did not find evidence for the GC as such. Women were appointed more often in successful (Study 1), specifically successful female-lead and failing male-lead organizations, yet only in highly visible organizations (Study 2). In conditions of crisis and high OI, participants were reluctant to change gender of CEO.

This research aims to reflect actual decision making processes more closely by simulating highly identified decision makers who act as organizational agents. It therefore combines the decision makers’ and the organization’s perspectives. As studies were conducted with student samples, field studies are warranted to prove the generalizability of our findings.

The (not so) Changing man: Dynamic Gender Stereotypes in Sweden

Amanda Klysing, Emma Bäck, Anna Lindqvist, Lund University

Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Stockholm University


Social Role Theory describes gender stereotypes as dynamic constructs influenced by actual and perceived changes in which roles women and men occupy (Wood & Eagly, 2011). Sweden is ranked as one of the most gender equal countries in the world, with a relatively high number of men engaging in traditionally communal roles. Therefore, we investigated the dynamics of gender stereotype content in Sweden with a primary interest in the male stereotype. In Study 1, participants (N = 323) estimated descriptive gender stereotype content for the past, present or future. They also estimated gender distribution in occupations and domestic roles for each time-point. Results showed that the female stereotype increased in agentic traits from the past to the present, mediated by a perceived increase of women in agentic roles, while the male stereotype did not change. Furthermore, participants estimated no change for the future, and they overestimated how often women and men occupy gender nontraditional roles at present times. In Study 2, we provided participants’ (N = 648) with facts about role change by either describing women’s change in agentic roles, or men’s change in communal roles, or no facts. The female stereotype increased in masculine traits, and this change was mediated by perceived social role occupation. The male stereotype did not change in femininity but decreased in masculinity. Altogether, the results indicate that positive femininity is harder for men to gain, in that the only difference in gender stereotypes at present times occurred for this dimension.

Beyond Mars & Venus: How Gender Essentialism Limits Women´s Latitude in the Workplace

In collaboration with Prof. Cordelia Fine and Prof Nick Haslam from the University of Melbourne


Expressions like “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” reflect essentialist thinking: the belief that all members of a category share fundamental or ‘essential’ qualities that make them what they are.

Taking its cue from the philosophical claim that certain categories, dubbed ‘natural kinds’, possess such causal essences, a body of social psychological work has argued that laypeople often hold essentialist beliefs about social groups. Theorists and researchers (e.g. Bastian & Haslam, 2006; Haslam, Rothchild, Ernest, 2000; Rothbart, & Taylor, 1992, Yzerbyt, Rocher, & Schandron) have proposed that essentialist thinking involves beliefs that a human group is natural, immutable, discrete, informative, historically and cross-culturally invariant, and grounded in deep-seated, often biological, factors. Gender is one of the first social categories we learn to apply (Kinzler, Schutts & Correll, 2010). It is strongly essentialized (e.g., Prentice & Miller, 2006), and gender categories are often understood as biologically based ‘natural kinds’ (Haslam, Rothchild, Ernest, 2000). In line with this, contemporary arguments in favour of greater gender equality often draw on gender essentialist assumptions that women and men are distinctly, immutably, and naturally different, and thus have complementary skills to bring to the workplace.Therefore it has been argued that gender essentialism impedes progress towards greater gender equality. Here we present a new gender essentialism scale (GES), and validate it in two large nationally representative samples from Denmark and Australia.

In both samples the GES was highly reliable and predicted lack of support for sex-role egalitarianism, support for gender discrimination, and the perceived fairness of gender-based treatment, independently of two established predictors (i.e., social dominance orientation and conservative political orientation). In addition, gender essentialism assessed by the GES moderated some manifestations of the backlash effect: high essentialists were more likely to respond negatively towards a power-seeking female political candidate relative to a male candidate.

Positive Fortune-telling Enhances Men’s Financial Risk Taking

Xiaoyue Tan ; Jan-Willem Van Prooijen; Paul A.M. Van Lange, VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Fortune telling is a widespread phenomenon, yet little is known about whether people are affected by it, including those who consider themselves non-believers. The present research investigated the power of a positive fortune telling outcome (vs. neutral or vs. negative) on people’s financial risk taking. In two online experiments(N1 = 252; N2 = 441), we consistently found positive fortune telling particularly enhanced men’s financial risk taking. Additionally, we used a real gambling game in a lab experiment (N = 193) and found positive fortune telling enhanced college students’ decision-making for gambling, which seemed more pronounced for males. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of these three studies demonstrated gender was a significant moderator for the fortune telling effect (vs. neutral), with an effect size of 0.33 [0.08, 0.58] for men, but of almost zero (– 0.05 [– 0.30, 0.20]) for women. Thus, positive fortune telling can yield increased financial risk taking in men, but not (or less) so in women.

Keywords: superstition, fortune-telling, financial risk taking

Too modest to lead: The role of gender differences in self-presentations for gender biases in leader selection

Torun Lindholm, Anna Blomkvist, Sebastian Cancino Montecinos, Stockholm University, Sweden
Vincent Yzerbyt, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

This research investigates the effects of men’s and women’s self-presentational strategies when applying for leader positions. Specifically, we examine how men and women prefer to self-present when being interviewed for a highly qualified manager position, and how these self-presentational strategies affect evaluations in a hiring situation. In Study 1, participants (N=49, 25 women) read an ad for a manager position, and rated their interest in responding to questions indicating high or low warmth or competence (Kervyn et al., 2009) during an employment interview. Both men and women preferred questions indicating high competence and high warmth. Women also wanted to respond to questions indicating low competence. In Study 2, we first collected answers from a naïve sample (N=40, 20 women) to the questions selected by men and women in Study 1. These answers were then presented to a new sample (N=160, 80 women) who read the answers either to questions preferred by men or by women, and then evaluated applicant’s suitability for the job. Applicants’ gender was manipulated to either match or not match their self-reported gender. Results showed that regardless of applicants’ actual or manipulated gender, those responding to questions preferred by men were judged as more competent and excellent, and were more seriously considered to be hired than applicants responding to women’s question. Women’s self-presentational strategies may be due to a motivation to conform to gender roles, prescribing modesty for women. However, this strategy backfires in an interview situation for a leader position, for which such modesty seems unwarranted.

Mirror mirror in the brain... an EEG study on the automatic supportive responses among gender categories

Prof. Dr. Belle Derks, Dr. Ruth van Veelen, Dr. Daan Scheepers, Utrecht University

Women remain underrepresented at higher organizational levels. This causes a threat to their social identity and has many negative consequences, such as underperformance, motivation loss, anxiety and less well-being. How women cope with this social identity threat depends on their level of gender identification. While low identifiers distance themselves from the group, high identifiers fight for the group.

We are now interested in the process between the experience of threat and the behavior that follows; the unconscious/automatic processes and motivation. We argue that social identity threat can change the way women perceive each other. We investigate this using EEG/ERP. First, we looked at social categorization and found that in case of equal representation, low identifiers payed more attention to the outgroup, while high identifiers payed more attention to the ingroup. In case of underrepresentation, both low and high identifiers payed more attention the ingroup. The question remains why this is the case.

To investigate this further, the current two studies focus on empathy and performance monitoring. Does social identity threat makes it more motivationally relevant to monitor the mistakes of your ingroup? Do certain social factors make you more or less empathic towards your ingroup? We expect that high identified women will empathize more with women than with men, while low identifiers will not. We expect that bot low and high identified women, in a situation where women are negatively stereotyped, will monitor the mistakes of a woman more than those of a man (competitive versus collective threat).