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CBE Life Sci Educ. 2016 fall;15(3). pii: ar29. doi: 10.1187/cbe.15-09-0187.

A "Scientific Diversity" Intervention to Reduce Gender Bias in a Sample of Life Scientists.

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Department of Psychology, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Department of Psychology, Leiden University, 2333 AK Leiden, The Netherlands.
Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520.
School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520.
Center for Teaching and Learning, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520.
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520.


Mounting experimental evidence suggests that subtle gender biases favoring men contribute to the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), including many subfields of the life sciences. However, there are relatively few evaluations of diversity interventions designed to reduce gender biases within the STEM community. Because gender biases distort the meritocratic evaluation and advancement of students, interventions targeting instructors' biases are particularly needed. We evaluated one such intervention, a workshop called "Scientific Diversity" that was consistent with an established framework guiding the development of diversity interventions designed to reduce biases and was administered to a sample of life science instructors (N = 126) at several sessions of the National Academies Summer Institute for Undergraduate Education held nationwide. Evidence emerged indicating the efficacy of the "Scientific Diversity" workshop, such that participants were more aware of gender bias, expressed less gender bias, and were more willing to engage in actions to reduce gender bias 2 weeks after participating in the intervention compared with 2 weeks before the intervention. Implications for diversity interventions aimed at reducing gender bias and broadening the participation of women in the life sciences are discussed.

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