PSYCHOLOGICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF GENDER SEGREGATION
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.