My Fair Physicist? Feminine Math and Science Role Models Demotivate Young Girls
An interesting interaction between self-efficacy and role models. I read this as the girls saying to themselves, “Sure, there are female scientists — but *I* could never be like that! I might as well give up now.”
Study 1 showed that feminine STEM role models reduced middle school girls’ current math interest, self-rated ability, and success expectations relative to gender-neutral STEM role models and depressed future plans to study math among STEM-disidentified girls. These results did not extend to feminine role models displaying general (not STEM-specific) school success, indicating that feminine cues were not driving negative outcomes. Study 2 suggested that feminine STEM role models’ combination of femininity and success seemed particularly unattainable to STEM-disidentified girls.