Throughout the world, human societies continue to be strongly segregated along gender lines. Men and women on average occupy different roles at home and at work. In my research, I take an interdisciplinary approach that draws from social psychological, sociological, organizational, and developmental perspectives to investigate the persistence of gender disparities in the global workforce.

A broad set of psychological factors contribute to these gender gaps. These factors, which my research seeks to uncover, fall in three general categories:


(1) Pipeline issues

Why do men and women flock to different roles? What are the psychological mechanisms whereby individuals self-select into various occupations? What interventions can be designed to encourage individuals to pursue non-normative roles and domains (e.g., those not historically associated with their self-ascribed gender)?


(2) Barriers to entry

What are the obstacles and advantages facing men and women interested in non-normative roles and domains? What are the psychological processes behind gender employment discrimination? How can we de-bias the evaluative process to reduce barriers to entry into non-normative roles and domains?


(3) Difficulties thriving

What is it like for men and women to occupy a role or position historically associated with a different gender group? What are the interpersonal and psychological challenges facing individuals in non-normative roles (e.g., a woman in a leadership position)? And what are the conditions under which individuals in non-normative roles and domains can thrive?

Across these three broad categories, one common thread in my empirical and theoretical work has been a focus on the interplay between beliefs about roles (i.e., what traits are viewed as required for success in a given domain) and beliefs about groups (i.e., group stereotypes). 


This core theme is at the heart of research conducted at NYU Abu Dhabi's new Social Roles and Beliefs Lab.

©2016 by Andrea Vial.