113 Stereotype Essay Topics & Examples

Looking for good stereotypes to write about? Look no further! This list contains only the best themes about stereotypes in society for your college essay or project. Whether you need research questions about stereotypes, essay writing tips, or free samples, you will find them here.

❓ How to Write a Stereotype Essay: Do’s and Don’ts

🏆 best stereotype topic ideas & essay examples, 👍 good essay themes about stereotypes, 📌 most interesting stereotype topics to write about, 👍 good research topics about stereotype, ❓ research questions about stereotypes.

All people are different, which makes living without some ingrained assumptions difficult. From discrimination to mere harmless expectations, stereotyping plays a prevalent part in people’s interactions, often imposing particular behavior on them.

Thus, writing a stereotype essay is only as simple as recognizing both the every-day and the society-wide patterns of thinking, finding the connections between them, and writing them down.

  • Think of a specific topic before you begin writing or outlining your paper. Do so by penning a thesis statement, which will not only help you stick to your central theme but also remove any irrelevant ideas. Since there are multitudes of stereotype essay topics, this action will help you focus your thoughts on a single issue.
  • Brainstorm your problem beforehand by drafting an outline. Whether you are writing a stereotype threat essay or creating a comprehensive list of anti-female education beliefs, you should create a smooth narrative that flows with ease from one point to another. Furthermore, an outline saves you time, which you would have spent on rewriting those parts of your stereotype essay that are lacking in information or structure.
  • Read sample essays. An outstanding stereotypes essay example can act as an excellent incentive to begin writing by demonstrating writing tactics and ways of presenting information to the audience. You may even uplift some of those techniques to your own work to increase the quality of your paper.
  • Give your essay an eye-catching title. Stereotype essay titles should not only give the audience a glimpse of what the central theme is but also invite them to read further. The more hooks you have at the beginning of your paper, the higher the possibility of a reader going beyond the first paragraph.
  • Generate a comprehensive bibliography. With the number of studies on this topic, there exists a vast amount of book and journal titles that can help you find plenty of interesting themes about stereotypes.
  • Pick a broad problem. An essay has a specified word count, and your instructor will not reward writing over the set limit. Choose an issue that you are sure you can adequately cover in the specified pages, and remember to adhere to your received instructions. There is nothing worse than writing an excellent essay and losing marks for not following directions.
  • Plagiarize from others’ essay examples. Copying and pasting sentences is an academic offense, as is merely rewording them, and you should avoid discrediting your hard work. Getting your paper disqualified is not worth a small increase in marks.
  • Attempt to subvert every stereotype you come across. While deconstructing some issues is a noble endeavor, this work may be extensive and exhausting, as well as not the main point of your paper. Remember your thesis statement, and work in those facts that relate to it.
  • Make light of your chosen problem. Just as with your title, your writing should remain respectful and academic, using only credible information and referencing trusted sources. Remember that, as with any humanities issue, stereotypes are a societal byproduct that affects living people, who deserve fair treatment.
  • Skip the pre-writing stages. Doing so may lead you to write an essay, which is not only off-point but also overwhelmingly one-sided. Your paper should give adequate attention to different sides of one issue, presenting different viewpoints, studies, and academic opinions, which brainstorming helps achieve.

Need more tips? Let IvyPanda guide your writing process!

  • Gender Stereotypes on Television Gender stereotyping in television commercials is a topic that has generated a huge debate and it is an important topic to explore to find out how gender roles in voice-overs TV commercials and the type […]
  • Stereotypes of American Citizens McAndrew and Akande lament that in the United States, African Americans are the most stereotyped due to racial discrimination and the dark history of slavery.
  • Learning to Stereotype: The Lifelong Romance One of the most enchanting novels in the American literature, the piece by Cahan offers a plunge into the world of the usual.
  • Canadian Stereotypes On the cover of the novel Canadian stereotypes, there will be the image of the maple leaf bag. The image of the maple leaf bag will represent both the flag and the history of the […]
  • Sex, Lies, and Stereotypes: Being Prejudiced Because of Inequalities Is Not Always Correct The exhibition under consideration, Sex, Lies and Stereotypes, is aimed to prove how unfair but still constant discrimination of people is; and several illustrative posters like Women Are Not Chicks or Oh, So That Explains […]
  • African-American Students and Mathematics Achievement Gap: Stereotype or Reality? The purpose of this research is to find whether there is the evidence of the math performance gap between Black and White students and, if we find that it exists, to throw ling upon its […]
  • Aspects of Rhetoric and Stereotype Image It is clear then, that feminists are found to be of negative stereotypes from the start. The stereotypes in this group are a complete revelation of both positive and negative image.
  • Cross-Cultural Interaction: Prejudices and Stereotypes In this regard, the concept of stereotype also influences social categorization and information sharing in the course of cross-cultural communication. One of the most effective ways to exterminate stereotypic and linear thinking is to change […]
  • Gender stereotypes of superheroes The analysis is based on the number of male versus female characters, the physical characteristic of each individual character, the ability to solve a problem individually as either male or female and both males and […]
  • Gender Studies: Gender Stereotypes From what is portrayed in the media, it is possible for people to dismiss others on the basis of whether they have masculinity or are feminine.
  • Hoodies and the stereotype. Bad or not? The hoodie marches had a lot of racial undertones, but it is clear that the victim’s piece of clothing was the centre of attention in these campaigns.
  • Stereotype Threat: Women’s Abilities in Math On the other hand, in study 2, they demonstrated that it is possible to reduce the performance differences when elimination of the stereotype that is descriptive of the anticipated performance is done to ensure that […]
  • Stereotypes and Their Effects Three common stereotypes include the perception that Muslims are terrorists, Christians are ignorant, and that women are less intelligent than men.
  • How contemporary toys enforce gender stereotypes in the UK Children defined some of the physical attributes of the toys.”Baby Annabell Function Doll” is a likeness of a baby in that it that it has the size and physical features of a baby.
  • Importance of Stereotypes in Communication People are eager to use their prior knowledge about different ethnic groups to be ready for communicating, still, the impact of stereotypes cannot be pure negative or pure positive, and this is why it is […]
  • Stereotypes people have toward Chinese Most of these studies focus on the major stereotypes held about the Chinese but forget to address the effects of these stereotypes to the Chinese students especially the ones studying in other countries.
  • Towards Evaluating the Relationship Between Gender Stereotypes & Culture It is therefore the object of this paper to examine the relationship between gender stereotypes and culture with a view to elucidating how gender stereotypes, reinforced by our diverse cultural beliefs, continue to allocate roles […]
  • How Anthropology Helps to Evaluate Stereotypes The recent study on leadership shows that women have been enlightened and they are up to take their positions in leadership.
  • Stereotypes of Islam and Muslims in the West This was evident after Shadid made analyses of various publications which analyzed the threat of Islam and the Muslim community to the western countries and fashion such stereotypical messages in the realm of myth.
  • “Stereotype Threat: Effects on Education” by Smith, Cary Stacy, and Li-Ching Hung In some cases, only the topic of these sources is similar to that of the article and not their subject matter.
  • Influence of activating implicit gender stereotypes in females The results revealed that the participants who were subjected to the gender based prime performed relatively poorly compared to their counterparts on the nature prime.
  • Stereotypes in the media Media has continued to group people by their tribes and the effects of the tribal stereotype is mostly felt in the less developed world.
  • Review of Stereotype Threat and Arousal: Effects on Women’s Math Performance The variables used in the study were gender, difficulty of the tests, and the perception of stereotype threat. The results of the data were that the implication of stereotype threat did in fact negatively affect […]
  • White Female Stereotypes in Media In most instances, the images that are in the media are of exceptionally slim white girls and women, and this sends a negative image to those women that have bigger bodies.
  • Chinese Stereotypes Reflected in Movies The main research objective will be to: “Analyse Chinese stereotypes in movies” The specific objectives will include: To identify the various stereotypical depictions of the Chinese in movies To determine the relationship between Chinese stereotype […]
  • Stereotype-Conductive Behavior The notion that fat people are lazy is because many of them avoid doing activities that would require them to spend a lot of energy and movement. In many cases, the speed of fat people […]
  • Stereotype of Aboriginals and Alcohol in Canada Therefore, it is necessary to research whether the given prejudice has certain grounds to base on, track the measures that are being currently undertaken to eliminate the stereotype and offer other efficient ideas that will […]
  • Stereotype Threats and Social Psychology Pickren defines social norm as “The rules of behavior that are considered acceptable in a group or society”.to the society, it was acceptable to treat the immigrants differently from the rest of the population because […]
  • Stereotype of Video Games Being for Boys In the article author speaks about the problem of different video games that designed for boys and for girls. In this article author explains that gender difference in the video games is a marketing strategy […]
  • Women and the Industry of the Trap Music: Empowering or Succumbing to the Stereotype? Indeed, on the further scrutiny of the problem, one will see that the issue of female DJs in the trap music domain In light of the specified argument, one may infer that abandoning the trap […]
  • Racism Issues: Looking and Stereotype In order to find the answer to this question, it is important to introduce the concept of ‘looking’ supporting with the writing of Sturken and Cartwright, Hall, Goodwin, and Gooding-Williams.
  • Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis The methodology used by the author is a first content analysis of the video games, identification of the protagonists, and then studying the effect it has on girls.
  • The Male Bashing Stereotype: Formal Critique All of the mistakes and lack of social molding that they show women during their youth are not the stuff that dictates the kind of men they will be in the future.
  • The Dynamics of Stereotype Priming and Assimilation The activation of a mental representation of a social group leads to behaviour corresponding to specific attributes of the stereotype. For priming a stereotype some researchers have held that accessibility of the information and the […]
  • High Design, Stereotype, Postmodernism What is the most complicated about the heavenly goods is that one and the same object cannot be changed in a way which would distinguish it greatly from the objects of the same kind.”Beyond a […]
  • Perception, Stereotype and Empathy As a result, most of the people have believed that this is the case. The purpose of this activity is to illustrate that we all have different perceptions and explore the reasons associated with this.
  • Common Stereotypes and Reinforcing Rhetoric It is safe to assume that due to this stereotype of lies, the members of the public are not willing to listen to politicians anymore because they expect these politicians to be feeding them with […]
  • To Be Disabled: Stereotype Analysis The purpose of this paper is to examine, how the stereotype is reinforced in the world, and how disabled people experience it.
  • Stereotype of a Black Female In the following paper, three stereotypes that I have faced in my life will be addressed in terms of the reasons for their formation and the mistakes that lie at the heart of these stereotypes.
  • Stereotypes in United Kingdom A stereotype is a common or popular belief about certain people or behaviors of certain individuals. People from different cultures have different stereotypes.
  • The “Welfare Queen” Stereotype in the US Reagan’s portrayal of these ladies was used to justify real-world policy changes and contributed to the shrinkage of the social safety net.
  • The Stereotype Of A Smart High Achieving Asian American
  • Racial Stereotyping : A Stereotype, As Defined By The Merriam
  • Prejudice, Stereotype, Discrimination, and In-Group Vs. Outgroup
  • The Sports Media and the Marketing Advertisers a Hypermasculine Stereotype
  • Think like a Monkey: Borrowing from Animal Social Dynamics to Reduce Stereotype Threat
  • The Metamorphosis Of The Schemer Stereotype
  • How Stereotype Threat May Cause Poor Performance In Women
  • Women Are Worse Drivers than Men Stereotype
  • What Is The Function Of Racist Stereotype In Blackface Minstrelsy
  • How Race And Stereotype Can Affect Justice Being Served
  • The Imposition of Gender Stereotype by Society Today
  • Women’s Oppression In Hurston’s “Sweat”: The Stereotype Of Women’s Role In Society
  • Understanding the Gender Stereotype of the Macho-Man Myth
  • Use Of A Stereotype Cue On The Perceived Level Of Mathematics
  • The Stereotype of Women in a Patriarchal Society
  • The Stereotype of Female Taming in Shakespeare’s Time in the Taming of the Shrew
  • The Stereotype of the Dumb Blonde in Legally Blonde, a Movie by Robert Luketic
  • Americanization : The Creation Of The Indian Stereotype
  • The Impact of Stereotype Threat on Age Differences in Memory Performance
  • Sexually Driven Media Advertisements Objectify And Stereotype
  • Advantage and Disadvantage of Fitting Into the Stereotype
  • An Analysis of the Stereotype of Masculinity in the Early 1800s
  • Analyzing How a Conventional or Stereotype Character Functions to Achieve Authors Purposes
  • Perspective and Stereotype in Western Detective Novels
  • The Stereotype Of Criminally Disposed People In Poverty
  • Women ‘s Portrayal Of Women Essay – Brand, Marketing, Stereotype, Gen
  • Feminine Autonomy and Erasing the Male Stereotype in Juno and the Paycoc
  • The History of Chief Illiniwek as a University of Illinois Mascot and Racist Stereotype
  • Women ‘s Role For Society ‘s Stereotype Towards Women
  • Why Stereotype Based on Blood Type Genotype or Body Type?
  • Do Television Advertisements Stereotype the Roles of Men and Women in the Society
  • An Analysis of Stereotype Italian American in Sopranos the Cable Show in United States
  • Women: Does Stereotype Threat Affect Their Ability?
  • American Cheerleader: The Icon, The Stereotype, And The Truth
  • Alice Sebold And The Stranger Stereotype
  • An Analysis of the Negative Stereotype of the Jewish Race in Jewbird and The Last Mohican
  • The Stereotype African Characters in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • The Impact Of The Violent African American Stereotype In Rap Music
  • The Teenage Driver Stereotype in Society
  • Breaking the Stereotype: Why Urban Aboriginals Score Highly on Happiness Measures
  • An Analysis of the Macho-Men Stereotype Plaguing Today’s Man
  • The Problems of the Aboriginal People and the Average Media Stereotype
  • How Racialized Stereotypes Determine a Community’s Value?
  • What Is a Cultural Stereotype?
  • How Advertising Reinforces Gender Stereotypes?
  • How Stereotypes for Women Came to Be?
  • How Do Contemporary Toys Enforce Gender Stereotypes?
  • What Are Social Stereotypes?
  • Are Continuum Beliefs About Psychotic Symptoms Associated With Stereotypes About Schizophrenia?
  • How Do Hispanic Bilinguals’ Cultural Stereotypes Shape Advertising Persuasiveness?
  • How Do Racialized Stereotypes Determine a Community’s Value?
  • How Does Drag Affect Stereotypes About Gay Men?
  • How Refugee’s Stereotypes Toward Host Society Members Predict Acculturation Orientations?
  • Why Are Female Stereotypes in Advertising Still Effective?
  • Can Gender Quotas Break Down Negative Stereotypes?
  • Does Mainstream Media Have a Duty to Challenge Gender Stereotypes?
  • How Have Gender Stereotypes Always Been a Part of Society?
  • How Do Attitudes and Stereotypes Develop?
  • Are Sexist Attitudes and Gender Stereotypes Linked?
  • Are Gender Stereotypes Perpetuated in Children’s Magazines?
  • What Are Gender Stereotypes?
  • How Gender Stereotypes Warp Our View of Depression?
  • How Are Class Stereotypes Maintained in the Press?
  • How Can Bob Dylan and Wolf Biermann Be Employed to Make Students Aware of Stereotypes and Prejudice?
  • How Do Racial Stereotypes Affect Society?
  • How Did Photography Reflect the Values and Stereotypes That Underlay European Colonialism?
  • How Can Stereotypes Contribute to Inequality?
  • What Makes People Have Certain Stereotypes?
  • How Can Stereotypes Negatively Affect Listening?
  • Why Are Stereotypes Dangerous and What Can Be Done to Reduce Them?
  • How Are Stereotypes Used to Racially Profile People?
  • How American Minorities Are Stereotypes in American Drama Series?
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  • Gender Stereotypes Essay Titles
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94 Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics

🏆 best essay topics on gender stereotypes, 👍 good gender stereotypes research topics & essay examples, 🎓 most interesting gender stereotypes research titles, 💡 simple gender stereotypes essay ideas, ❓ research questions about gender stereotypes.

  • Gender Stereotypes: Should Real Men Wear Pink?
  • Gender Stereotypes in Western and Eastern Culture
  • Race and Gender Stereotypes in Literature
  • Gender Stereotypes in “Frozen” Animated Film
  • How Gender Stereotypes Affect Society
  • Gender Stereotypes and Misunderstanding
  • Gender Stereotypes in Academic and Family Settings
  • The Problem of Gender Stereotypes Gender stereotyping seems to be an element of the traditional gender ideology that describes average differences between males and females.
  • Gender Stereotypes in Families: Parental Influence on an Adolescent’s Career Choice Gender stereotypes are still persistent in societies that often seem to be egalitarian. These stereotypes are transmitted to younger generations that copy their parents’ role models.
  • Futurama Series Speaks Against Gender Stereotypes Although Futurama may seem to be a sexist series, at first sight, a closer examination reveals several directions in which this work speaks against gender stereotypes.
  • Role of Gender Stereotypes in Advertising The paper states that it is of great significance to understand the reasons behind the advertisers’ attachment to socially constructed gender differences.
  • Gender Stereotypes and Their Role in Advertising Now it is difficult to imagine life without advertising. In modern society, there is still a principle of building advertising on gender stereotypes.
  • Gender Stereotypes in Families: Parents’ Gender Roles and Children’s Aspirations Psychologists have paid significant attention to gender stereotypes, and many important trends have been identified and evaluated. Researchers use various methodologies.
  • Gender Stereotypes Have Changed by Eagly et al. Gender Stereotypes Have Changed by Eagly et al. investigates the changes in gender stereotypes over a long period and the historical and social processes that contributed to this.
  • Gender Stereotypes in Advertisements Gender-stereotyped portrayals remain perverse in ads and other promotional activities in conventional print and broadcast media and digital and social networking platforms.
  • Gender Stereotypes in Commercials Home appliances or makeup commercials are typically directed at women. Automobile advertising, on the contrary, tends to concentrate on the male audience.
  • Gender Stereotypes in the Modern World The About Face project aims to oppose a culture that promotes the belief that women are weak, and have a particular set of duties and responsibilities that should be obeyed.
  • Gender Stereotypes of the US Women This work is a proposal study concerning experiences that influence US women’s attitudes towards their roles in society, gender stereotypes, distribution of power.
  • Gender Stereotypes: Data Presentation Strategy This report examines gender stereotypes from a quantitative perspective, including data presentation strategy and strategy of credibility, dependability, and transferability.
  • Data Analysis Proposal: Gender Stereotypes This paper presents a data analysis proposal of the study that focuses on developing females gender stereotypes using an empirical phenomenology approach.
  • Gender Stereotypes: Research Question This work is a research proposal on the topic of what factors affect the development of opinions in women concerning gender-related issues as seen by working females.
  • Gender Stereotypes in Family and Academic Settings The persistence of gender stereotypes in the USA as well as the rest of the world is one of the most burning issues.
  • Gender Stereotypes and Employment’ Correlation The paper discusses will science faculty members reveal preferential evaluation of a male science student to work in the laboratory settings?
  • The Gender Stereotypes in the Workplace The gender stereotypes in the workplace were the focus of the discussion. Different studies exploring issues related to gender stereotypes in the working environment were analyzed.
  • Gender Stereotypes in Family: Research Methods Family is one of the most important factors that affect the development of children’s perceptions concerning gender roles.
  • Gender Stereotypes Formation in Children This paper focuses on a study that explores the extent to which parents model gender roles to their children and dwells upon the development of gender stereotypes in children.
  • Gender Stereotypes Developed Within Families The researchers hypothesized that parents’ views on gender roles as well as their stereotypes would be adopted by their children.
  • Gender Stereotypes’ Effects Career and Mental Health This paper discusses the stereotypes about women and shows how they limit the professional development of women and put them at risk of domestic violence and mental health issues.
  • Women’s Views on Long-Existing Gender Stereotypes Women are still seen as creatures fit for child-rearing and keeping households. Men still think that women cannot perform certain tasks and take up some responsibilities.
  • Gender Stereotypes in Women’s Opinion Study This study focuses on the opinions of women and their perspectives on the prevalence of gender stereotypes. The qualitative research will best fit the purpose of the study.
  • Socialization and Its Relationship to Gender Stereotypes
  • Impact Color Associations Have On Gender Stereotypes
  • The Hidden Gender Stereotypes in the Animations of the Little Mermaid and Tangled
  • Gender Stereotypes Start With Toys
  • Raising Children Without Gender Stereotypes
  • The Harmful Effects That Gender Stereotypes Can Reflect on the Individual and Society
  • Workplace Segregation and Gender Stereotypes
  • Television Commercials and How They Perpetuate Gender Stereotypes
  • Media Messages, Gender Stereotypes & Baby Mama
  • Defining Manhood Through Gender Stereotypes
  • How Jane Eyre and the Works of Robert Browning Subvert Gender Stereotypes?
  • Gender Stereotypes That Have an Influence on People From Their Birth
  • Nostalgic Representations and Gender Stereotypes in Romanian Advertising
  • Gender Stereotypes and Bias in Child Rearing
  • Holding Fast: The Persistence and Dominance of Gender Stereotypes
  • English Postcolonial Animal Tales and Gender Stereotypes
  • Gender Stereotypes and Estimated IQ Scores
  • Toys That Develop Gender Stereotypes
  • Gender Stereotypes and Influences of Celebrities on Our
  • Gender Norms and Enforcing Gender Stereotypes on Society
  • Warnings Against Gender Stereotypes in Early Twentieth-Century American Literature
  • Gender Stereotypes Are Still Pervasive in Our Culture
  • The Factors That Influence Gender Roles, Gender Identity, and Gender Stereotypes
  • Sports Broadcasting Reinforces Gender Stereotypes and Homophobia Media
  • Gender Stereotypes and Their Effects on Society
  • Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Gender Stereotypes in Disney Films
  • Gender Differences and Gender Stereotypes From a Psychological Perspect
  • Masculinity, Femininity, Gender Stereotypes, and Racial Stereotypes in the Media
  • Female Development and the Impact of Gender Stereotypes
  • Gender Stereotypes Influence the Perception of and Attitude Towards Characters
  • Physical Appearance and Gender Stereotypes
  • Gender and Gender Stereotypes and How They Have an Impact on Children
  • Men Who Defy Gender Stereotypes
  • Pop Culture and Gender Stereotypes
  • Sexism and Gender Stereotypes in the Public Relations Industry
  • Gender Stereotypes: The Reign of the Blue Collar Male
  • Girls Rule, Boys Drool: The Effects of Gender Stereotypes
  • Workplace and Gender Stereotypes
  • Gender Stereotypes Throughout the Past Decades
  • What Is the Relationship Between Physical Appearance and Gender Stereotypes?
  • How Do Gender Stereotypes Warp Our View of Depression?
  • How Do Magazines Create Gender Stereotypes?
  • How Do Gender Stereotypes Impact Dimensions of Effective Leader Behavior?
  • How Women Are Fighting for Gender Stereotypes in Today’s Society?
  • What Are the Gender Stereotypes Against Iranian Women?
  • How Does Ridley Scott Create and Destroy Gender Stereotypes in “Thelma and Louise”?
  • How Do Television Commercials Perpetuate Gender Stereotypes?
  • How Can Gender Stereotypes Explain the Gender-equality Paradox?
  • How To Reduce the Effects of Gender Stereotypes on Performance Evaluations?
  • What Is the Role of Gender Stereotypes in Speech Perception?
  • What Is the Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Parent and Child Mathematics Attitudes?
  • What Does the Term Pancultural Gender Stereotypes Mean?
  • Do Citizens Apply Gender Stereotypes To Infer Candidates’ Ideological Orientations?
  • What Are the Discourses of Female Violence and Societal Gender Stereotypes?
  • What Changes Did Occur in Gender Stereotypes Over Time?
  • How Do Brain Potentials Reflect Violations of Gender Stereotypes?
  • What Is the Role of Gender Stereotypes in US Senate Campaigns?
  • How Gender Stereotypes Prevent Women’s Ascent up the Organizational Ladder?
  • What Are the Implicit and Explicit Occupational Gender Stereotypes?
  • What Is an Evolution of Gender Stereotypes in Spain?
  • How Do Newspaper Sources Trigger Gender Stereotypes?
  • What Is the Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Role Adoption in Student Teams?
  • What Are the Current Gender Stereotypes and Their Evaluative Content?

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StudyCorgi. (2022, May 10). 94 Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/gender-stereotypes-essay-topics/

"94 Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics." StudyCorgi , 10 May 2022, studycorgi.com/ideas/gender-stereotypes-essay-topics/.

StudyCorgi . (2022) '94 Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics'. 10 May.

1. StudyCorgi . "94 Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics." May 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/gender-stereotypes-essay-topics/.


StudyCorgi . "94 Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics." May 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/gender-stereotypes-essay-topics/.

StudyCorgi . 2022. "94 Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics." May 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/gender-stereotypes-essay-topics/.

These essay examples and topics on Gender Stereotypes were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

This essay topic collection was updated on December 27, 2023 .


The impact of gender stereotypes on the self-concept of female students in stem subjects with an under-representation of females.

\r\nBernhard Ertl*

  • 1 Department for Education, Universität der Bundeswehr München, Neubiberg, Germany
  • 2 Federal Centre for Professionalization in Education Research, University of Teacher Education Styria, Graz, Austria
  • 3 Educational Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria

It's possible to assume that women who study STEM topics with a low proportion of females have successfully overcome barriers in school and the family, making them less prone to stereotypic views, and influences. The present study focuses on these kinds of factors and analyzes to which degree family factors, school-related factors, and individual stereotypes may influence a woman's academic self-concept. The following study presents a latent regression model which is based on a survey of 296 women from different German universities, all of whom are part of STEM programs of study that have <30% females. It was investigated to which degree individual stereotypes, support in school, and family support contribute to the self-concept in STEM. Gender stereotypes were negatively related to students' STEM-specific self-concept in the selected sample. This study also reveals negative family-related influences that lower a woman's self-concept. Positive predictors on the other hand included school aspects that are found in the students' favorite subjects at school. The results of the study provide important aspects for STEM education. Even though the students participating in the study presumably had good grades in STEM, stereotypes still corrupted their self-concept. One of the reasons for this might lie in stereotypes that attribute girls' achievements to diligence instead of talent. The results also point out that direct support, particularly by parents, can have a negative impact on female students' self-concept. Activities that are meant to support pupils directly may actually backfire and transport stereotypes instead. This stresses the need for indirect support during socialization, e.g., by providing opportunities for children to have positive experiences or by giving them the chance to meet role models that are enthusiastic about their STEM professions. These kinds of measures have the potential to spur students' interest in STEM subjects—something that in the present study proved to be especially beneficial for women's positive self-concept when studying STEM topics.


In most European countries, the proportion of females pursuing a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is still alarmingly low. This holds especially true for occupations in technology and engineering ( Blickenstaff, 2005 ; Ihsen, 2009 ; European Commission, 2015 ). The past decades have seen the proportion of females in these fields remain constant at approximately 25% in the EU, and even lower in Germany with approximately 18% [ CEWS (Center of Excellence Women Science)., 2014 ]. One of the reasons females avoid STEM subjects lies in the negative and stereotyped perception(s) of these subjects (see Engeser et al., 2008 ; Schuster and Martiny, 2017 ). Stereotypical assessments here include expectations e.g., about a particular gender, as well as the attributions of abilities in specific domains. Such assessments are embedded in a broader cultural context of the individual (see Good et al., 2008 ). According to Bronfenbrenner's (1977) ecological systems theory, a major source of stereotypes lies within an individual's macro system, i.e., the cultural and social context of a person's societal group. The macro system refers to the overall values and customs that characterize a given social group which provide a framework for the interactions between the individual and its social context, e.g., the teachers at school or the family. Depending on the macro system and its values, stereotypes about professions, or subjects may vary among nations or cultures (see Nosek et al., 2009 ; Else-Quest et al., 2010 ). Many females in the Western world still believe the stereotype that professions and subjects in STEM are “male” domains ( Nosek et al., 2009 ) and they often apply these kinds of stereotypes to the assessment of their own abilities in STEM (see e.g., Dresel et al., 2007 ).

Stereotypical classifications of professions and subjects have strong implications for females. They impair learning and prevent females from fulfilling their full potential. Stereotypes lower one's self-assessment and sense of competence, i.e., a person's self-concept ( Marsh and Scalas, 2011 ). They even have an impact on career choices (e.g., Engeser et al., 2008 ; Schuster and Martiny, 2017 ).

Against this background, the present study investigates how stereotypes may explain female university students' self-concept in STEM. In this context, it is important to have a closer look into the different STEM subjects. Even if the term is used internationally, there are particularly differences about the definition of the science part. The German equivalent to STEM focuses only on “natural” sciences like physics, chemistry, biology etc., (see Ihsen, 2009 ). The English-speaking community also includes life sciences like medicine (e.g., European Commission, 2015 ; Eccles and Wang, 2016 ), while some authors, primarily from the US context also include social sciences in this definition (e.g., Su and Rounds, 2015 ). It is important to acknowledge this fuzziness when interpreting results with respect to STEM, because all these definitions, comprise subjects with a very low proportion of females, e.g., engineering as well as with a superior proportion of females like e.g., life sciences (see e.g., European Commission, 2015 ; Su and Rounds, 2015 )—even if the proportions of females vary between the countries. This study focusses on a special group of female STEM students for reducing ambiguity: those who study a subject with an especially low proportion of females. We will label these STEM subjects having an under-representation of females as STEM-LPF (STEM subjects with a l ow p roportion of f emales). Studies with an especially low proportion of females have less than 30% ( Buchmann et al., 2002 ). This means that for every female, more than two males study this subject. This group of female STEM-LPF students was selected because it could be expected that they are less prone to stereotypes after they have chosen what can be seen as a less-than-typical career path.

Academic Self-Concept

An academic self-concept comprises a person's self-assessments in academic domains. It is formed through experience and interpretations of one's environment as it regards feelings of self-confidence, competence, and ability. It's influenced by evaluations of significant others, reinforcements, and attributions of one's own behavior ( Marsh and Scalas, 2011 ). Such self-assessments may belong to two frames of reference ( Rost et al., 2005 ): The external frame of reference is guided by a social comparison of one's own achievements with those of peers. The internal frame of reference is guided by a comparison within the individual, for example a comparison of abilities in various subjects. Students compare their achievement in one subject (e.g., mathematics) with their achievement in another (e.g., English).

The academic self-concept in a specific domain does not necessarily accurately reflect achievements. In a study by Ludwig (2010) , female middle school students were much more critical of their abilities in STEM than male students even if they had the same grades. Similar results were found in the PISA studies ( OECD, 2015 ). The academic self-concept of females who perform on the same level as their male counterparts in the PISA science scores was about one quarter standard deviation lower ( OECD, 2015 , p. 75). In most participating countries, females had a more critical academic self-concept in STEM than males. These kinds of differences can be downright vicious because research postulates reciprocal effects between the academic self-concept and achievements (see Marsh and Scalas, 2011 ). In their reciprocal effects model , pathways were found between students' achievements and their academic self-concept and vice versa. This means that, considering students on the same level of achievements, the students with the higher academic self-concept will advance in their achievements over the course of time while the others will lag. This effect may be explained by expectancy-value theory in how students with a higher academic self-concept in a domain have higher expectations regarding their chances for successful outcomes and as a result have a higher motivation to invest time and effort into learning activities in this domain (see Eccles et al., 1983 ; Eccles and Wang, 2016 ).

Attributions for causes of achievement also essentially contribute to the development of an individual's self-concept (see Möller and Köller, 1996 ). Successful achievements may be attributed to ability and thus enhance a positive self-concept, or they may be attributed to luck and have detrimental effects on the self-concept as a result (see Heider, 1958 ). Attributions are also related to learning motivation: Attributing academic failure to a lack of effort may increase effort for the next examination, while attributing failure to the lack of ability may cause resignation. Thus, the academic self-concept influences to which degree a student makes full use of her/his academic potential (see Jahnke-Klein, 2006 ). Studies show that female and male students differ in their attribution patterns in STEM fields ( Beermann et al., 1992 ; Jurik et al., 2013 ). In comparison to males, although females seldom attribute success in STEM fields to ability, they do in fact attribute failure mostly to the lack thereof ( Dickhäuser and Meyer, 2006 ). These kinds of dysfunctional attribution patterns interfere with the development of a positive self-concept and impair learning motivation (see also Ziegler, 2002 ; Dresel et al., 2007 ). All in all, a too-critical self-concept is an important reason why females believe they have inferior skills in STEM fields (see Wang et al., 2015 ; Eccles and Wang, 2016 ); why they are less motivated; and why they seldom consider a career in a STEM field at all ( OECD, 2015 ).

School and family are two distinct environments that support the development of a student's academic self-concept. Different characteristics of classroom teaching show substantial effects on students' academic self-concept and their interest in a subject ( Lazarides and Ittel, 2012 ). Comparisons in the classroom set an external frame of reference for the self-assessment and attribution of achievements (see Rost et al., 2005 ). Teachers' support in the attribution of achievements ( Heller and Ziegler, 1996 ) can help students overcome gender-specific attribution patterns ( Dresel et al., 2007 ). So teacher behavior can support students' interest and their development of a positive academic self-concept and encourage students to perhaps even experience STEM as their favorite field, all while keeping in mind that opposite effects are possible as well.

Within the family context, there is no in-class comparison. Here, parents' attributional beliefs serve as a frame of reference for a student's self-assessment ( Viljaranta et al., 2015 ). Parents' beliefs about their child's ability have strong impacts on his/her self-assessment of ability ( Tiedemann, 2000 ) and academic self-concept as a result. This makes parent support an important aspect in the context of STEM ( Adya and Kaiser, 2005 ). However, if parents consider their child as being less capable, they may provide intrusive support with detrimental effects on the child's self-assessment ( Pomerantz and Eaton, 2001 ). In other words: parents' influence on their children's academic self-concept can be ambiguous depending on their specific behavior, making it important that students experience support for their self-assessments at both school and at home ( Adya and Kaiser, 2005 ). Of note here is that the effects of this support are subject to the particular support behavior. In the context of the STEM subjects, gender stereotypes can be seen as one reason why support measures may achieve the opposite effect.

Stereotypes and their Impact in STEM

The development of the academic self-concept begins in infancy and unfolds its most significant impact(s) after primary school ( Senler and Sungur, 2009 ). Parents' and teachers' expectations and attributions of abilities and achievements essentially shape a child's self-concept ( Dresel et al., 2007 ; Ludwig, 2010 ). They do not necessarily rely on objective assessments; often, parents underlie stereotypical evaluations which do not correspond to their children's actual achievements. For example, parents tend to regard daughters as being less talented in mathematics and science and reinforce dysfunctional attribution patterns as a result ( Dresel et al., 2007 ).

Explicit Stereotypes as a Threat to Performance

Several studies on stereotypes have coined the term “stereotype threat” ( Martignon, 2010 , p. 221; Shapiro and Williams, 2012 ). In these studies, participants usually were confronted with a stereotype about a target group, e.g., females or members of a specific ethnic group. In the context of STEM, stereotypes would include males being more talented and successful in math and science. After confrontation with the stereotype, study participants worked on a task that is associated with the stereotype ( Martignon, 2010 , p. 221), and performance was compared to another group working on the same task that was not confronted with the stereotype. In nearly all studies on stereotype threat, females achieved worse results with mathematical tasks, and their interest decreased when they were confronted with the stereotype that women are less talented in mathematics ( Shapiro and Williams, 2012 ).

Owens and Massey (2011) describe two mechanisms that explain why stereotype threat occurs. The first mechanism works via internalized stereotypes; this means the person has internalized the stereotype and identifies him/herself with the target group. Consequently, he/she invests less effort in the task and the stereotype threat becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The internalization of the stereotype also has a negative effect on the academic self-concept ( Heckhausen, 1989 ) and is accompanied by a reduction in motivation and effort ( Möller and Köller, 1996 ). The second mechanism works via external stereotypes ( Owens and Massey, 2011 ). In this case, the person does not necessarily identify him/herself with the stereotype, nor does he/she need to believe the stereotype. Confrontation with the stereotype, however, affects the perception of task difficulty, increasing strain and tension. Rumination about the stereotype uses up resources that are otherwise needed for task completion, impairing performance as a result (see Macher et al., 2015 ). This research shows that even females who believe themselves to be competent and pursue a career in STEM still can be impaired by stereotype threat.

Influence of Stereotypes Communicated by Significant Others

Stereotypes are also communicated by significant others such as parents or teachers ( Gunderson et al., 2012 ). Tiedemann (2000) showed in his study on pupils in primary school that mothers as well as teachers based their feedback on children's competence in mathematics not only regarding previous grades but the respective child's gender as well. Mothers were even more prone toward gender stereotypes than teachers. Stereotypes were especially strong in feedback on achievements and had a significant impact on the children's self-concept ( Tiedemann, 2000 ). In a study by Kiefer and Shih (2006) , students were especially receptive to teacher feedback that was associated with gender stereotypes. According to Dickhäuser and Meyer (2006) , girls mainly rely on perceived teacher evaluations of their ability when making math ability assessments and thus are very susceptible to incorporating significant others' stereotyped evaluations into their own self-concept (see also Xu, 2016 ).

Parents' and teachers' gender stereotypes manifest themselves not only in communication, but in dysfunctional support for their children or students as well. When parents endorse specific gender stereotypes (e.g., boys are better in STEM, girls are better in languages), they are more likely to uninvitedly intrude on homework, undermining children's confidence in these areas, and weakening their self-concept ( Bhanot and Jovanovic, 2005 ). These kinds of long-term influences by parents and teachers may have a significant influence over the years not only on motivation and achievement but regarding career choices as well ( Bleeker and Jacobs, 2004 ).

Research Question

The academic self-concept is a key variable in explaining learning and motivation in specific academic domains. It is also of interest in explaining career choices and perseverance in a specific profession. However, it does not always rely on “objective” data such as actual achievements, but is instead subject to distorting influences such as internalized stereotypes as well as external stereotypical attributions by others.

The present article looks more closely into the academic self-concept of a special group of females: university students in a STEM-LPF subject with a notable underrepresentation of women (equal to or less than 30% females). It can be expected that these females would tend to be confident regarding their academic self-assessments in STEM fields, and less prone to stereotypical attributions concerning females' lack of abilities here. Therefore, the research question will investigate:

To what degree do STEM-LPF students' own stereotypes in comparison to school- and family- related factors contribute to their academic self-concept in STEM?

Regarding this research question, we would still expect a negative effect of stereotypes. However, due to a lack of research in the field, we cannot provide hypotheses about its strength within the context of the ambiguous effects of school and family factors.

The focus of this paper is primarily on a quantitative study with 296 female STEM-LPF students. For strengthening these results, we will also provide evidence from a qualitative study with STEM students that took part in an earlier stage of the project. Students of the qualitative study were also invited to participate in the quantitative one but as this was an anonymous survey there was no control of participation.

Quantitative Study

The sample employed in the quantitative study is part of a larger sample that was gathered in the EU research project SESTEM in six European countries. Five hundred and sixty seven female university students in STEM fields participated in Germany. Ertl et al. (2014) analyze the entire German sample (including students in STEM areas without female underrepresentation) with a focus on motivation and the academic self-concept.


The present study focuses on a sub-sample of 296 female STEM-LPF students: females who studied one of these STEM subjects that have a proportion of equal to or lower than 30% females. This sample includes 296 students in subjects including mechanical engineering ( n = 97), computer sciences ( n = 48), physics ( n = 39), metal engineering ( n = 36), civil engineering ( n = 34), electrical engineering ( n = 32), and other STEM subjects ( n = 10).

A specific questionnaire was developed for the study. Items were deducted from theory and adapted for the field of the study. During this process, all six partners of the SESTEM project consortium brought in aspects within their field of expertise. Seeking and including expert judgment on the content of a questionnaire, on item formats, item contents, and scoring systems enhance content validity of a measurement instrument. Then, the consortium negotiated about the inclusion of the different scales weighting between satisfying the needs of the different partners, adopting existing scales, and keeping the questionnaire as short as possible for maintaining students' motivation for answering the questions. This resulted in a final questionnaire in an English language version, which was translated into further five national languages including German. These six language versions were implemented as a LimeSurvey multi language questionnaire. The students reported in this paper answered the German language version. They were asked about:

1. Their majors or the subject combination they had chosen for their degree. Based on the data from the German Federal Statistical Office [ Destatis (Statistisches Bundesamt), 2013 ], majors were classified with respect to the proportion of females.

2. Their parents' professions . These were classified according to whether they were from the field of STEM (coded as STEM/not STEM).

3. Their academic self-concept in STEM on a five-point Likert scale (4 items, see Table 1 ). Higher values indicate a more positive self-concept.

4. Their internalization of gender stereotypes was measured by three scales: interests (7 items), abilities (5 items), and conformance (2 items). Each of these scales was based on a five-point Likert scale (see Table 1 ). Higher values indicate stronger stereotypes.

5. School factors . Here the following variables/scales were measured: First, a score was derived from students' STEM favorites (derived from students' three most favorite subjects at school. Subjects from the field of STEM that are known for association as a “male domain” were summed up to a score. This means that the score includes subjects such as mathematics, physics, or computer sciences, but not subjects like biology). Higher values indicate more favorite STEM subjects. Second, STEM support in school was operationalized by teachers' and school activities that facilitated the interest in STEM (e.g., “Were there activities in secondary school that encouraged your interest in STEM?” These answers were also summed up and mapped onto a range between 0 and 5) with higher values indicating more support. Third, a five-point Likert scale regarding students' perception of teachers' stereotyped behavior (4 items, see Table 1 ).

6. Family factors with respect to family support. This was surveyed by different areas in which students may have received support and the persons that supported the students (e.g., “Who supported you in mathematics: father/mother?”) Answers were distinguished with respect to the supporting person and the supported field and summarized into a score for support by parents generally, as well as for support in specific areas (mathematics/science). These scores were mapped regarding their theoretical maxima and minima on a range between 0 and 1. Altogether three variables were derived: Parents' support in math, parents' support in STEM, and parents' general support. Higher values indicate stronger support.


Table 1. Overview on the scales used for the study with the number of items, an exemplary item, and the internal consistency .

Table 1 gives an overview of the different Likert scales including the number of items, an exemplary item, and the internal consistency of the scale. The reported consistency measures relate to the whole sample of 567 students. Missing items of single scales were imputed; missing scales were treated as missing. Table 2 provides an overview of all scales including their value range, their means, and their standard deviations.


Table 2. Ranges, means, and standard deviations for the reported scales .

Qualitative Study

The quantitative study was complemented by a qualitative study. It comprised interviews based on a semi-structured interview protocol (for the complete set-up of the qualitative studies see Mok and Ertl, 2011 ). Interviewees were contacted by personal contact, email, and via STEM-related distribution lists. A sample of 11 female students of STEM subjects like mathematics, physics, engineering, and STEM-related teacher training from three different universities participated in the qualitative study; five students studied a LPF subject (civil engineering n = 2, physics n = 3).

In the following, we will first report results of the quantitative study. The results section will first provide insights into the descriptive outcomes. Then it will describe the results of the confirmatory factor analysis for the factors of stereotypes, school, and family. It will finally present a structural equation model that provides insights into the impacts of each of the factors onto the students' academic self-concept in STEM and illustrate these afterwards by the interviews with these five students of the qualitative study.

Descriptive Statistics

Of the 296 students, nearly the half of the students (139) had a father working in a STEM profession, while more than 10% (31) had a mother in STEM.

Most students showed a very positive self-concept ( M = 4.58; the means described in the following relate to a scale of 1–5, with 1 as the lowest and 5 as the highest value). We could find distinctive occurrences with respect to the internalization of stereotypes between the students. The students agreed mostly that girls and boys have different interests ( M = 3.14). They agreed less about stereotypes regarding a stereotype distribution of abilities ( M = 2.20), and least of all about the need for conformance ( M = 1.64; see Table 2 ).

With respect to school factors, 26 students had three favorite subjects from STEM at school, 129 students two, 121 just one, while 20 had favorite non-STEM subjects ( M = 1.54). They received a moderate amount of STEM support in school ( M = 2.55 of a maximum of 5), and also perceived a moderate amount of stereotyped teacher behavior ( M = 2.51 of a maximum of 5).

Considering family factors, the amount of parents' support in math ( M = 0.15 of a maximum of 1) and STEM ( M = 0.14) was low. General support by the parents was low to medium ( M = 0.36).

To analyse the distribution of the data, we used the values of the skewness and kurtosis. West et al. (1995) set the criteria for indicators used in structural equation models at a value >2 for skewness and >7 for kurtosis for deviation from normal distribution. All scales meet the requirement of normal distribution.

Latent Regression Analysis

Latent regression analysis was used to test relationships between the variables in a multivariate, multiple regression context. Structural relationships between multiple dependent variables and multiple independent variables can be analyzed simultaneously. Regression analyses are specified at the latent level and are corrected for measurement error at the level of the independent and dependent variables. Latent regression analysis has the advantage that the relationship between variables in the regression model can be estimated more accurately. At least two manifest variables (or indicators) are required for each latent variable (factors) in a latent regression model ( Geiser, 2013 ). The data were analyzed with Mplus 6 using a maximum likelihood estimator. The goodness of fit of the data to the hypothesized model was assessed using the following indices: χ 2 /df, comparative fit index (CFI), root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), and standardized root mean square residual (SRMR).

The model fit indices suggest a good fit of the latent regression analysis model (χ 2 /df = 1.422; CFI = 0.979; RMSEA = 0.038; SRMR = 0.049). Generally, values of χ 2 /df <2, CFI > 0.95, RMSEA < 0.05, and SRMR < 0.05 are considered as indicators of good model fit ( Papousek et al., 2012 ).

Table 3 displays the standardized solutions for the latent regression analysis with three the factors of stereotypes, school, and family. Each factor comprises different variables that describe stereotypes rooted in the culture or encountered in school or the family.


Table 3. Standardized coefficients for the latent regression analysis .

The model shows that the three indicators of stereotypes about interests (β = 0.274), stereotypes about ability (β = 0.590), and stereotypes about conformance (β = 0.379) are positively related to the factor stereotypes. Three indicators are related to the factor school: STEM favorites in school (β = 0.614), school support (β = −0.326), and stereotyped teacher behavior (β = −0.274). The three indicators support in mathematics (β = 0.784), support in STEM (β = 0.806), and support by parents (β = 0.787) are high positively related to the latent factor family.

The regression coefficients between the three factors stereotypes, school, and family and self-concept in STEM of students show the following result: Students with higher levels of experienced stereotypes (e.g., females have fewer skills or interest in STEM subjects, females in STEM have to be like men) report lower self-concepts in STEM domains (β = −0.405). The model shows a moderate relationship between the latent factor school and students' self-concept (β = 0.279). Students who reported a higher number of favorite STEM subjects in school have a higher self-concept whereas higher levels of school support and teachers' stereotypes indicate a lower and less positive self-concept in STEM. There was a weak relationship between the latent factor family and the self-concept of students (β = −0.149, p = 0.053). A higher level of support (math, STEM, parents) indicates a lower self-concept. The total variance of self-concept that can be explained by the factors is R 2 = 0.304. Figure 1 gives an overview of indicators and factors of the latent regression analysis model.


Figure 1. Latent regression analysis self-concept .

Correlations between the three latent factors were allowed in the model specification. We found low to moderate, but non-significant correlations between the three latent factors.

Evidence from the Qualitative Study

The analysis of the qualitative study aims to illustrate the latent variables of the quantitative one. Students' statements can give evidence for the latent factors of the quantitative study with respect to the impact of stereotypes and family. School factors were just mentioned in a few words, e.g., that students had taken advanced courses in mathematics (I57) or physics (I30, I57) or that they had enjoyed mathematics in school (I54). We will present the English translation of the statements; the German original version can be found in the project report ( Mok and Ertl, 2011 ).

Impact of Stereotypes

With respect to the impact of stereotypes, students mentioned that they were taking an untypical career path and that their social environment was surprised by this kind of career choice. A civil engineering student mentioned that surprise with respect to her friends: “ They were quite surprised,” I54, L.99. She further elaborated this untypical career with respect to the lack of acceptance of women in the construction area: “ The problems are bigger for women [in STEM] e.g., to be accepted in particular in the construction domain. There you need particularly technical knowledge and you have to know how to behave,” I54, L.124ff. This aspect was also emphasized by I1: “ As a woman you'll be seen different in a technical profession,” I1, L.16f. These untypical career choices also result in a perceived lack of role models and contact persons, e.g., female professors (“ There are few female professors,” I30, L.69). Thus, also the interview data highlights that students are aware that they are studying an untypical subject and name surprise of their friends about their study choice, obstacles for working in the untypical field, as well as missing role models.

Family impact . With respect to family impact, all students mentioned either that their father (I1, I54, I57) and/or mother (I1, I54) is in a STEM profession (“Both of my parents are teachers but my father has also studied physics and got a diploma […],” I57, L.47f.)—or that their parents supported their specific interest in STEM, e.g., by books (I35) or electronic construction toys (“ That my parents had already impacts on me because I also had got electronics experiments kits as a child,” I30, L.19f.). Most parents, particularly those in a STEM field, encouraged their daughters' pursuing a STEM career: “ The parents enhance the STEM-career because they are working in this field themselves” (I1, L.41). Some students further elaborated their parents' pleasure at their daughters' career wish “ My father was happy for me and my mother too.” (I57, L.59).

Parents also supported their children in case of difficulties, e.g., with homework (“[…] I had the opportunity to ask my father of course if I had e.g., pretty problems in mathematics or physics and he was able to help me,” I54, L.28ff.) or by providing stimulating tasks (“My father had written a computer program that provided us arithmetic problems when we attended primary school,” I57, L.36f.).

Yet, some students also described that their parents were doubtful about their ability for pursuing a STEM career (“My dad told me afterwards that he hadn't thought that this is the right thing for me […] because I have an already an understanding for logical relations but I have not an all-embracing one,” I54, L.105ff.) or that they questioned their decision (“my father appreciated my decision but my mother mentioned—although she was also working in the STEM field herself—that I should really think about my decision.” I35, L.56f.).

The results of the interviews stress the ambiguity of the family factor: Firstly, all parents had a STEM-affine background. They could provide content-specific support and foster their daughters' cognitive development in STEM. However, such support may also evoke an attribution of lower abilities in STEM. For example, one participant first mentioned that her father was very helpful when dealing with problems in STEM—but later she described how her father didn't trust her the ability for pursuing a STEM career. Thus, parents' support may be connected to implicit assumptions about their daughters' ability and these assumptions may influence their daughters' academic self-concept in STEM.

The results of the quantitative study were able to show that the model presented is appropriate for explaining students' self-concept. This is indicated by the good model fit indices, as well as by the amount of explained variance: The model explains 30.4% of the total variance of students' self-concept, which is nearly a third of the variance. Results of the qualitative study could furthermore give insights how to interpret the effects of the latent variables. In the following, we will discuss the relationships between stereotypes, school, and family factors, the self-concept, as well as the limitations of the study.

Relationships Between Stereotypes, School, and Family Factors, and the Self-Concept

All three facets of stereotypes (stereotypes about females' abilities, interests, and need for conformance) contributed negatively to the academic self-concept. Remarkably, stereotypes regarding females' abilities in STEM subjects were most strongly related to their self-concept. This is particularly important because the females of this study were already studying a so-called “male” STEM-LPF subject. The descriptive data showed that even these students share stereotypes, indicating that stereotypes even affect students who are already enrolled in a very gender-untypical course of study. Stereotypes about a need for conformance in the work environment and the different interests of females and males also contributed to the factor stereotypes. Also, result from the qualitative study indicate that there is a special need to behave in the domain. This result is of particular interest because it means that the STEM-LPF students acknowledge different interests of females and males, while they at the same time see the context of the “male” work environment and the need for showing conformance. They appear to use conformance to the work environment as a part of their identity construction (see Kessels and Hannover, 2004 , p. 400). This may also be an aspect of identity bifurcation (see Pronin et al., 2004 ) in how females in these subjects disavow some of their own characteristics that are, stereotypically, negatively associated with success in STEM careers.

In contrast, the three indicators of the latent factor school differ in their contribution. Students' favorite subjects in school, which could be seen as an indicator of their interest in STEM, or beneficial role modeling by teachers, were positively related to the self-concept. This stresses the importance of school factors for career choice. These may relate to interesting and gender-sensitive classes ( Faulstich-Wieland et al., 2008 ; Ertl and Helling, 2011 ), role modeling ( Kessels and Hannover, 2008 ), and providing appropriate attribution patterns ( Dresel et al., 2007 ). However, specific support at school and teachers' stereotypes had a negative relationship with the factors of school and self-concept. Teacher stereotypes, e.g., teachers encouraging boys to choose STEM subjects more strongly than girls, can be seen as a specific occurrence of the stereotype threat with the respective consequences (e.g., Good et al., 2008 ; Owens and Massey, 2011 ). It's fairly obvious that these kinds of actions provide a counterpart to students' interests in STEM. In contrast, teachers supporting their female students have the intention that they make further progress in STEM subjects. Nevertheless, these activities may in fact run counter to their interests in STEM, which may be the result of different reasons: The first aspect relates to the development of the self-concept in STEM. If students receive special support in STEM, they may interpret this action as a compensation for their lacking ability and therefore reduce their self-concept ( Pomerantz and Eaton, 2001 ). This is certainly the case when students receive intrusive support (see Bhanot and Jovanovic, 2005 ). From this line of argumentation, it is essential to investigate methods and implementations of support that are not detrimental to a students' self-concept. This result might also be explained by the “doing gender” approach: When giving specific support to females in STEM, their gender will be overemphasized, evoking a stronger identification with the stereotyped group of females in STEM (see Faulstich-Wieland et al., 2008 ). What this means is that supporting activities may in fact unfold their detrimental effects via two different mechanisms: one by giving supported students the message that their individual ability is not sufficient enough to succeed without support; and the other by overemphasizing their affiliation to a stereotyped target group.

Family factors were negatively related to the students' self-concepts, i.e., they impair a positive self-concept. This factor consisted of support by the parents and support in mathematics and STEM. Notably, all three aspects showed rather dysfunctional effects. With respect to family factors, the qualitative study could provide a several hints for interpretation. All students mentioned that their parents were very helpful and supportive. However, one student explicitly mentioned her father attributing her as not gifted enough for a STEM career while giving her support. This is in line with research about intrusive support patterns that are detrimental to a student's self-concept (see Bhanot and Jovanovic, 2005 ). Furthermore, one student reported her mother encouraging her to re-think her career decision for STEM which stresses the impact of significant others in career decisions (see also Xu, 2016 ).

The results generally suggest that the school environment provides more positive impacts than the family. This may relate to the different attribution patterns of teachers and parents ( Dresel et al., 2007 ). Teachers can provide much better attribution patterns in the context of the reference frame of a class's performance than parents who are primarily focused on their child with their beliefs as the key frame of reference. This stresses the need to focus on both school as well as on home environments as essential factors in facilitating students' self-concept (see also Eccles and Wang, 2016 ).


A strength of this study lies in the more ecological approach as foreseen in the Bronfenbrenner (1977) model. This approach provided more insights into stereotypes as well as interactions at school and at home. It at the same time included a major challenge for research that relates to the issue of how the study variables were self-reported by the students, with some of the variables even being reported retrospectively. It would have been desirable to research these issues in a longitudinal design in an effort to achieve greater insight into causal relations and the development process of stereotypes, interests, achievements, and the individuals' self-concepts. However, such a design would raise the issue of the necessary sample size at the primary school level to gain the respective number of students at the university level. A further aspect relates to the implementation of the Bronfenbrenner (1977) model in the latent regression analysis. Here, it would have been desirable to provide more interactions between the different levels this model proposes, even though such an approach would also require a longitudinal study design. In contrast, our research can provide insights into different dimensions influencing a STEM-LPF student's self-concept.


The results of the study provide important aspects for science education. Even though the students participating in the study almost certainly had good grades in STEM, stereotypes still corrupted their self-concept. One of the reasons for this might lie in stereotypes that attribute achievements of girls to diligence instead of talent (see Kessels, 2015 ). STEM subjects, particularly these with a low proportion of females, are stereotyped as requiring an extremely high level of talent to succeed. Good grades, although they are seen as a prerequisite for a STEM-LPF course of study (see Ihsen, 2009 ), are not sufficient to support a self-concept necessary for females to choose STEM-LPF subjects. This means that even students with good grades need support in developing efficient attributes for success ( Ziegler, 2002 ; Dresel et al., 2007 ). This may be implemented e.g., via support for a student's decision about what to study (see Ertl et al., 2014 ). This kind of support provides the implicit attribution pattern that a female student is “gifted enough” to study a male-associated STEM subject (see Dresel et al., 2007 ) and could thereby be seen as a specific method for strengthening an individual's self-concept. It can also be seen from a systemic point of view as an example of appropriate role modeling when it opens perspectives for identification with a subject or with a professional within a subject (see Hannover and Kessels, 2004 ).

A further aspect relates to interests at school. These may positively influence students' self-concepts and career choices if they have the chance to recognize a STEM subject as their favorite. This stresses the need for gender-sensitive teaching and a careful attention to gender-specific group processes in the classroom (see Ertl, 2010 ). Didactic measures that incite interest are, for example, hands-on activities that are oriented toward the students (see Paechter et al., 2006 ), or research clubs that allow students to obtain actual experiences about STEM-LPF professions (see Prenzel et al., 2009 ). The results of the last PISA studies confirm these results and assumptions while pointing out the necessity to overcome gender gaps and support females' interest in STEM subjects ( OECD, 2016 ).

Direct support, particularly by parents, had a negative impact in the present study. This result suggests that activities that are meant to support students directly may achieve the opposite effect and transport stereotypes instead (see e.g., Tiedemann, 2000 ). This stresses the need for indirect support during socialization, e.g., by providing opportunities for children to have positive experiences ( Sonnert, 2009 ) or by giving them the chance to meet role models who are enthusiastic about their STEM professions (see e.g., Mok and Ertl, 2011 ). One particular aspect of this may lie in the provision of mentoring programs (see Stein, 2013 ) that allow students to accompany their mentors over a longer period of time.

Ethics Statement

The study was performed in accordance with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and the American Psychological Association's Ethics Code. Review and approval was not required for this study in accordance with the national and institutional requirements. Participants gave consent to participate in the study at the beginning of the qualitative interviews and by submitting the online questionnaire for the quantitative study.

Author Contributions

All authors listed, have made substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication.

Parts of this paper were funded by the EU (LLP-Program, Project SESTEM 505437-llp-2009-GR-KA1-KA1SCR).

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


Particular acknowledgments to Ms. Sog Yee Mok for her support in implementing this study.

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Keywords: female STEM students, impacts, self-concept, stereotypes, support

Citation: Ertl B, Luttenberger S and Paechter M (2017) The Impact of Gender Stereotypes on the Self-Concept of Female Students in STEM Subjects with an Under-Representation of Females. Front. Psychol . 8:703. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00703

Received: 11 January 2017; Accepted: 21 April 2017; Published: 17 May 2017.

Reviewed by:

Copyright © 2017 Ertl, Luttenberger and Paechter. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Bernhard Ertl, [email protected]

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Research Article

Twenty years of gender equality research: A scoping review based on a new semantic indicator

Contributed equally to this work with: Paola Belingheri, Filippo Chiarello, Andrea Fronzetti Colladon, Paola Rovelli

Roles Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Energia, dei Sistemi, del Territorio e delle Costruzioni, Università degli Studi di Pisa, Largo L. Lazzarino, Pisa, Italy

Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Methodology, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Methodology, Software, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

* E-mail: [email protected]

Affiliations Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy, Department of Management, Kozminski University, Warsaw, Poland

ORCID logo

Roles Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Faculty of Economics and Management, Centre for Family Business Management, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bozen-Bolzano, Italy

  • Paola Belingheri, 
  • Filippo Chiarello, 
  • Andrea Fronzetti Colladon, 
  • Paola Rovelli


  • Published: September 21, 2021
  • https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256474
  • Reader Comments

9 Nov 2021: The PLOS ONE Staff (2021) Correction: Twenty years of gender equality research: A scoping review based on a new semantic indicator. PLOS ONE 16(11): e0259930. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0259930 View correction

Table 1

Gender equality is a major problem that places women at a disadvantage thereby stymieing economic growth and societal advancement. In the last two decades, extensive research has been conducted on gender related issues, studying both their antecedents and consequences. However, existing literature reviews fail to provide a comprehensive and clear picture of what has been studied so far, which could guide scholars in their future research. Our paper offers a scoping review of a large portion of the research that has been published over the last 22 years, on gender equality and related issues, with a specific focus on business and economics studies. Combining innovative methods drawn from both network analysis and text mining, we provide a synthesis of 15,465 scientific articles. We identify 27 main research topics, we measure their relevance from a semantic point of view and the relationships among them, highlighting the importance of each topic in the overall gender discourse. We find that prominent research topics mostly relate to women in the workforce–e.g., concerning compensation, role, education, decision-making and career progression. However, some of them are losing momentum, and some other research trends–for example related to female entrepreneurship, leadership and participation in the board of directors–are on the rise. Besides introducing a novel methodology to review broad literature streams, our paper offers a map of the main gender-research trends and presents the most popular and the emerging themes, as well as their intersections, outlining important avenues for future research.

Citation: Belingheri P, Chiarello F, Fronzetti Colladon A, Rovelli P (2021) Twenty years of gender equality research: A scoping review based on a new semantic indicator. PLoS ONE 16(9): e0256474. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256474

Editor: Elisa Ughetto, Politecnico di Torino, ITALY

Received: June 25, 2021; Accepted: August 6, 2021; Published: September 21, 2021

Copyright: © 2021 Belingheri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its supporting information files. The only exception is the text of the abstracts (over 15,000) that we have downloaded from Scopus. These abstracts can be retrieved from Scopus, but we do not have permission to redistribute them.

Funding: P.B and F.C.: Grant of the Department of Energy, Systems, Territory and Construction of the University of Pisa (DESTEC) for the project “Measuring Gender Bias with Semantic Analysis: The Development of an Assessment Tool and its Application in the European Space Industry. P.B., F.C., A.F.C., P.R.: Grant of the Italian Association of Management Engineering (AiIG), “Misure di sostegno ai soci giovani AiIG” 2020, for the project “Gender Equality Through Data Intelligence (GEDI)”. F.C.: EU project ASSETs+ Project (Alliance for Strategic Skills addressing Emerging Technologies in Defence) EAC/A03/2018 - Erasmus+ programme, Sector Skills Alliances, Lot 3: Sector Skills Alliance for implementing a new strategic approach (Blueprint) to sectoral cooperation on skills G.A. NUMBER: 612678-EPP-1-2019-1-IT-EPPKA2-SSA-B.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


The persistent gender inequalities that currently exist across the developed and developing world are receiving increasing attention from economists, policymakers, and the general public [e.g., 1 – 3 ]. Economic studies have indicated that women’s education and entry into the workforce contributes to social and economic well-being [e.g., 4 , 5 ], while their exclusion from the labor market and from managerial positions has an impact on overall labor productivity and income per capita [ 6 , 7 ]. The United Nations selected gender equality, with an emphasis on female education, as part of the Millennium Development Goals [ 8 ], and gender equality at-large as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030 [ 9 ]. These latter objectives involve not only developing nations, but rather all countries, to achieve economic, social and environmental well-being.

As is the case with many SDGs, gender equality is still far from being achieved and persists across education, access to opportunities, or presence in decision-making positions [ 7 , 10 , 11 ]. As we enter the last decade for the SDGs’ implementation, and while we are battling a global health pandemic, effective and efficient action becomes paramount to reach this ambitious goal.

Scholars have dedicated a massive effort towards understanding gender equality, its determinants, its consequences for women and society, and the appropriate actions and policies to advance women’s equality. Many topics have been covered, ranging from women’s education and human capital [ 12 , 13 ] and their role in society [e.g., 14 , 15 ], to their appointment in firms’ top ranked positions [e.g., 16 , 17 ] and performance implications [e.g., 18 , 19 ]. Despite some attempts, extant literature reviews provide a narrow view on these issues, restricted to specific topics–e.g., female students’ presence in STEM fields [ 20 ], educational gender inequality [ 5 ], the gender pay gap [ 21 ], the glass ceiling effect [ 22 ], leadership [ 23 ], entrepreneurship [ 24 ], women’s presence on the board of directors [ 25 , 26 ], diversity management [ 27 ], gender stereotypes in advertisement [ 28 ], or specific professions [ 29 ]. A comprehensive view on gender-related research, taking stock of key findings and under-studied topics is thus lacking.

Extant literature has also highlighted that gender issues, and their economic and social ramifications, are complex topics that involve a large number of possible antecedents and outcomes [ 7 ]. Indeed, gender equality actions are most effective when implemented in unison with other SDGs (e.g., with SDG 8, see [ 30 ]) in a synergetic perspective [ 10 ]. Many bodies of literature (e.g., business, economics, development studies, sociology and psychology) approach the problem of achieving gender equality from different perspectives–often addressing specific and narrow aspects. This sometimes leads to a lack of clarity about how different issues, circumstances, and solutions may be related in precipitating or mitigating gender inequality or its effects. As the number of papers grows at an increasing pace, this issue is exacerbated and there is a need to step back and survey the body of gender equality literature as a whole. There is also a need to examine synergies between different topics and approaches, as well as gaps in our understanding of how different problems and solutions work together. Considering the important topic of women’s economic and social empowerment, this paper aims to fill this gap by answering the following research question: what are the most relevant findings in the literature on gender equality and how do they relate to each other ?

To do so, we conduct a scoping review [ 31 ], providing a synthesis of 15,465 articles dealing with gender equity related issues published in the last twenty-two years, covering both the periods of the MDGs and the SDGs (i.e., 2000 to mid 2021) in all the journals indexed in the Academic Journal Guide’s 2018 ranking of business and economics journals. Given the huge amount of research conducted on the topic, we adopt an innovative methodology, which relies on social network analysis and text mining. These techniques are increasingly adopted when surveying large bodies of text. Recently, they were applied to perform analysis of online gender communication differences [ 32 ] and gender behaviors in online technology communities [ 33 ], to identify and classify sexual harassment instances in academia [ 34 ], and to evaluate the gender inclusivity of disaster management policies [ 35 ].

Applied to the title, abstracts and keywords of the articles in our sample, this methodology allows us to identify a set of 27 recurrent topics within which we automatically classify the papers. Introducing additional novelty, by means of the Semantic Brand Score (SBS) indicator [ 36 ] and the SBS BI app [ 37 ], we assess the importance of each topic in the overall gender equality discourse and its relationships with the other topics, as well as trends over time, with a more accurate description than that offered by traditional literature reviews relying solely on the number of papers presented in each topic.

This methodology, applied to gender equality research spanning the past twenty-two years, enables two key contributions. First, we extract the main message that each document is conveying and how this is connected to other themes in literature, providing a rich picture of the topics that are at the center of the discourse, as well as of the emerging topics. Second, by examining the semantic relationship between topics and how tightly their discourses are linked, we can identify the key relationships and connections between different topics. This semi-automatic methodology is also highly reproducible with minimum effort.

This literature review is organized as follows. In the next section, we present how we selected relevant papers and how we analyzed them through text mining and social network analysis. We then illustrate the importance of 27 selected research topics, measured by means of the SBS indicator. In the results section, we present an overview of the literature based on the SBS results–followed by an in-depth narrative analysis of the top 10 topics (i.e., those with the highest SBS) and their connections. Subsequently, we highlight a series of under-studied connections between the topics where there is potential for future research. Through this analysis, we build a map of the main gender-research trends in the last twenty-two years–presenting the most popular themes. We conclude by highlighting key areas on which research should focused in the future.

Our aim is to map a broad topic, gender equality research, that has been approached through a host of different angles and through different disciplines. Scoping reviews are the most appropriate as they provide the freedom to map different themes and identify literature gaps, thereby guiding the recommendation of new research agendas [ 38 ].

Several practical approaches have been proposed to identify and assess the underlying topics of a specific field using big data [ 39 – 41 ], but many of them fail without proper paper retrieval and text preprocessing. This is specifically true for a research field such as the gender-related one, which comprises the work of scholars from different backgrounds. In this section, we illustrate a novel approach for the analysis of scientific (gender-related) papers that relies on methods and tools of social network analysis and text mining. Our procedure has four main steps: (1) data collection, (2) text preprocessing, (3) keywords extraction and classification, and (4) evaluation of semantic importance and image.

Data collection

In this study, we analyze 22 years of literature on gender-related research. Following established practice for scoping reviews [ 42 ], our data collection consisted of two main steps, which we summarize here below.

Firstly, we retrieved from the Scopus database all the articles written in English that contained the term “gender” in their title, abstract or keywords and were published in a journal listed in the Academic Journal Guide 2018 ranking of the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) ( https://charteredabs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/AJG2018-Methodology.pdf ), considering the time period from Jan 2000 to May 2021. We used this information considering that abstracts, titles and keywords represent the most informative part of a paper, while using the full-text would increase the signal-to-noise ratio for information extraction. Indeed, these textual elements already demonstrated to be reliable sources of information for the task of domain lexicon extraction [ 43 , 44 ]. We chose Scopus as source of literature because of its popularity, its update rate, and because it offers an API to ease the querying process. Indeed, while it does not allow to retrieve the full text of scientific articles, the Scopus API offers access to titles, abstracts, citation information and metadata for all its indexed scholarly journals. Moreover, we decided to focus on the journals listed in the AJG 2018 ranking because we were interested in reviewing business and economics related gender studies only. The AJG is indeed widely used by universities and business schools as a reference point for journal and research rigor and quality. This first step, executed in June 2021, returned more than 55,000 papers.

In the second step–because a look at the papers showed very sparse results, many of which were not in line with the topic of this literature review (e.g., papers dealing with health care or medical issues, where the word gender indicates the gender of the patients)–we applied further inclusion criteria to make the sample more focused on the topic of this literature review (i.e., women’s gender equality issues). Specifically, we only retained those papers mentioning, in their title and/or abstract, both gender-related keywords (e.g., daughter, female, mother) and keywords referring to bias and equality issues (e.g., equality, bias, diversity, inclusion). After text pre-processing (see next section), keywords were first identified from a frequency-weighted list of words found in the titles, abstracts and keywords in the initial list of papers, extracted through text mining (following the same approach as [ 43 ]). They were selected by two of the co-authors independently, following respectively a bottom up and a top-down approach. The bottom-up approach consisted of examining the words found in the frequency-weighted list and classifying those related to gender and equality. The top-down approach consisted in searching in the word list for notable gender and equality-related words. Table 1 reports the sets of keywords we considered, together with some examples of words that were used to search for their presence in the dataset (a full list is provided in the S1 Text ). At end of this second step, we obtained a final sample of 15,465 relevant papers.


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Text processing and keyword extraction

Text preprocessing aims at structuring text into a form that can be analyzed by statistical models. In the present section, we describe the preprocessing steps we applied to paper titles and abstracts, which, as explained below, partially follow a standard text preprocessing pipeline [ 45 ]. These activities have been performed using the R package udpipe [ 46 ].

The first step is n-gram extraction (i.e., a sequence of words from a given text sample) to identify which n-grams are important in the analysis, since domain-specific lexicons are often composed by bi-grams and tri-grams [ 47 ]. Multi-word extraction is usually implemented with statistics and linguistic rules, thus using the statistical properties of n-grams or machine learning approaches [ 48 ]. However, for the present paper, we used Scopus metadata in order to have a more effective and efficient n-grams collection approach [ 49 ]. We used the keywords of each paper in order to tag n-grams with their associated keywords automatically. Using this greedy approach, it was possible to collect all the keywords listed by the authors of the papers. From this list, we extracted only keywords composed by two, three and four words, we removed all the acronyms and rare keywords (i.e., appearing in less than 1% of papers), and we clustered keywords showing a high orthographic similarity–measured using a Levenshtein distance [ 50 ] lower than 2, considering these groups of keywords as representing same concepts, but expressed with different spelling. After tagging the n-grams in the abstracts, we followed a common data preparation pipeline that consists of the following steps: (i) tokenization, that splits the text into tokens (i.e., single words and previously tagged multi-words); (ii) removal of stop-words (i.e. those words that add little meaning to the text, usually being very common and short functional words–such as “and”, “or”, or “of”); (iii) parts-of-speech tagging, that is providing information concerning the morphological role of a word and its morphosyntactic context (e.g., if the token is a determiner, the next token is a noun or an adjective with very high confidence, [ 51 ]); and (iv) lemmatization, which consists in substituting each word with its dictionary form (or lemma). The output of the latter step allows grouping together the inflected forms of a word. For example, the verbs “am”, “are”, and “is” have the shared lemma “be”, or the nouns “cat” and “cats” both share the lemma “cat”. We preferred lemmatization over stemming [ 52 ] in order to obtain more interpretable results.

In addition, we identified a further set of keywords (with respect to those listed in the “keywords” field) by applying a series of automatic words unification and removal steps, as suggested in past research [ 53 , 54 ]. We removed: sparse terms (i.e., occurring in less than 0.1% of all documents), common terms (i.e., occurring in more than 10% of all documents) and retained only nouns and adjectives. It is relevant to notice that no document was lost due to these steps. We then used the TF-IDF function [ 55 ] to produce a new list of keywords. We additionally tested other approaches for the identification and clustering of keywords–such as TextRank [ 56 ] or Latent Dirichlet Allocation [ 57 ]–without obtaining more informative results.

Classification of research topics

To guide the literature analysis, two experts met regularly to examine the sample of collected papers and to identify the main topics and trends in gender research. Initially, they conducted brainstorming sessions on the topics they expected to find, due to their knowledge of the literature. This led to an initial list of topics. Subsequently, the experts worked independently, also supported by the keywords in paper titles and abstracts extracted with the procedure described above.

Considering all this information, each expert identified and clustered relevant keywords into topics. At the end of the process, the two assignments were compared and exhibited a 92% agreement. Another meeting was held to discuss discordant cases and reach a consensus. This resulted in a list of 27 topics, briefly introduced in Table 2 and subsequently detailed in the following sections.



Evaluation of semantic importance

Working on the lemmatized corpus of the 15,465 papers included in our sample, we proceeded with the evaluation of semantic importance trends for each topic and with the analysis of their connections and prevalent textual associations. To this aim, we used the Semantic Brand Score indicator [ 36 ], calculated through the SBS BI webapp [ 37 ] that also produced a brand image report for each topic. For this study we relied on the computing resources of the ENEA/CRESCO infrastructure [ 58 ].

The Semantic Brand Score (SBS) is a measure of semantic importance that combines methods of social network analysis and text mining. It is usually applied for the analysis of (big) textual data to evaluate the importance of one or more brands, names, words, or sets of keywords [ 36 ]. Indeed, the concept of “brand” is intended in a flexible way and goes beyond products or commercial brands. In this study, we evaluate the SBS time-trends of the keywords defining the research topics discussed in the previous section. Semantic importance comprises the three dimensions of topic prevalence, diversity and connectivity. Prevalence measures how frequently a research topic is used in the discourse. The more a topic is mentioned by scientific articles, the more the research community will be aware of it, with possible increase of future studies; this construct is partly related to that of brand awareness [ 59 ]. This effect is even stronger, considering that we are analyzing the title, abstract and keywords of the papers, i.e. the parts that have the highest visibility. A very important characteristic of the SBS is that it considers the relationships among words in a text. Topic importance is not just a matter of how frequently a topic is mentioned, but also of the associations a topic has in the text. Specifically, texts are transformed into networks of co-occurring words, and relationships are studied through social network analysis [ 60 ]. This step is necessary to calculate the other two dimensions of our semantic importance indicator. Accordingly, a social network of words is generated for each time period considered in the analysis–i.e., a graph made of n nodes (words) and E edges weighted by co-occurrence frequency, with W being the set of edge weights. The keywords representing each topic were clustered into single nodes.

The construct of diversity relates to that of brand image [ 59 ], in the sense that it considers the richness and distinctiveness of textual (topic) associations. Considering the above-mentioned networks, we calculated diversity using the distinctiveness centrality metric–as in the formula presented by Fronzetti Colladon and Naldi [ 61 ].

Lastly, connectivity was measured as the weighted betweenness centrality [ 62 , 63 ] of each research topic node. We used the formula presented by Wasserman and Faust [ 60 ]. The dimension of connectivity represents the “brokerage power” of each research topic–i.e., how much it can serve as a bridge to connect other terms (and ultimately topics) in the discourse [ 36 ].

The SBS is the final composite indicator obtained by summing the standardized scores of prevalence, diversity and connectivity. Standardization was carried out considering all the words in the corpus, for each specific timeframe.

This methodology, applied to a large and heterogeneous body of text, enables to automatically identify two important sets of information that add value to the literature review. Firstly, the relevance of each topic in literature is measured through a composite indicator of semantic importance, rather than simply looking at word frequencies. This provides a much richer picture of the topics that are at the center of the discourse, as well as of the topics that are emerging in the literature. Secondly, it enables to examine the extent of the semantic relationship between topics, looking at how tightly their discourses are linked. In a field such as gender equality, where many topics are closely linked to each other and present overlaps in issues and solutions, this methodology offers a novel perspective with respect to traditional literature reviews. In addition, it ensures reproducibility over time and the possibility to semi-automatically update the analysis, as new papers become available.

Overview of main topics

In terms of descriptive textual statistics, our corpus is made of 15,465 text documents, consisting of a total of 2,685,893 lemmatized tokens (words) and 32,279 types. As a result, the type-token ratio is 1.2%. The number of hapaxes is 12,141, with a hapax-token ratio of 37.61%.

Fig 1 shows the list of 27 topics by decreasing SBS. The most researched topic is compensation , exceeding all others in prevalence, diversity, and connectivity. This means it is not only mentioned more often than other topics, but it is also connected to a greater number of other topics and is central to the discourse on gender equality. The next four topics are, in order of SBS, role , education , decision-making , and career progression . These topics, except for education , all concern women in the workforce. Between these first five topics and the following ones there is a clear drop in SBS scores. In particular, the topics that follow have a lower connectivity than the first five. They are hiring , performance , behavior , organization , and human capital . Again, except for behavior and human capital , the other three topics are purely related to women in the workforce. After another drop-off, the following topics deal prevalently with women in society. This trend highlights that research on gender in business journals has so far mainly paid attention to the conditions that women experience in business contexts, while also devoting some attention to women in society.



Fig 2 shows the SBS time series of the top 10 topics. While there has been a general increase in the number of Scopus-indexed publications in the last decade, we notice that some SBS trends remain steady, or even decrease. In particular, we observe that the main topic of the last twenty-two years, compensation , is losing momentum. Since 2016, it has been surpassed by decision-making , education and role , which may indicate that literature is increasingly attempting to identify root causes of compensation inequalities. Moreover, in the last two years, the topics of hiring , performance , and organization are experiencing the largest importance increase.



Fig 3 shows the SBS time trends of the remaining 17 topics (i.e., those not in the top 10). As we can see from the graph, there are some that maintain a steady trend–such as reputation , management , networks and governance , which also seem to have little importance. More relevant topics with average stationary trends (except for the last two years) are culture , family , and parenting . The feminine topic is among the most important here, and one of those that exhibit the larger variations over time (similarly to leadership ). On the other hand, the are some topics that, even if not among the most important, show increasing SBS trends; therefore, they could be considered as emerging topics and could become popular in the near future. These are entrepreneurship , leadership , board of directors , and sustainability . These emerging topics are also interesting to anticipate future trends in gender equality research that are conducive to overall equality in society.



In addition to the SBS score of the different topics, the network of terms they are associated to enables to gauge the extent to which their images (textual associations) overlap or differ ( Fig 4 ).



There is a central cluster of topics with high similarity, which are all connected with women in the workforce. The cluster includes topics such as organization , decision-making , performance , hiring , human capital , education and compensation . In addition, the topic of well-being is found within this cluster, suggesting that women’s equality in the workforce is associated to well-being considerations. The emerging topics of entrepreneurship and leadership are also closely connected with each other, possibly implying that leadership is a much-researched quality in female entrepreneurship. Topics that are relatively more distant include personality , politics , feminine , empowerment , management , board of directors , reputation , governance , parenting , masculine and network .

The following sections describe the top 10 topics and their main associations in literature (see Table 3 ), while providing a brief overview of the emerging topics.




The topic of compensation is related to the topics of role , hiring , education and career progression , however, also sees a very high association with the words gap and inequality . Indeed, a well-known debate in degrowth economics centers around whether and how to adequately compensate women for their childbearing, childrearing, caregiver and household work [e.g., 30 ].

Even in paid work, women continue being offered lower compensations than their male counterparts who have the same job or cover the same role [ 64 – 67 ]. This severe inequality has been widely studied by scholars over the last twenty-two years. Dealing with this topic, some specific roles have been addressed. Specifically, research highlighted differences in compensation between female and male CEOs [e.g., 68 ], top executives [e.g., 69 ], and boards’ directors [e.g., 70 ]. Scholars investigated the determinants of these gaps, such as the gender composition of the board [e.g., 71 – 73 ] or women’s individual characteristics [e.g., 71 , 74 ].

Among these individual characteristics, education plays a relevant role [ 75 ]. Education is indeed presented as the solution for women, not only to achieve top executive roles, but also to reduce wage inequality [e.g., 76 , 77 ]. Past research has highlighted education influences on gender wage gaps, specifically referring to gender differences in skills [e.g., 78 ], college majors [e.g., 79 ], and college selectivity [e.g., 80 ].

Finally, the wage gap issue is strictly interrelated with hiring –e.g., looking at whether being a mother affects hiring and compensation [e.g., 65 , 81 ] or relating compensation to unemployment [e.g., 82 ]–and career progression –for instance looking at meritocracy [ 83 , 84 ] or the characteristics of the boss for whom women work [e.g., 85 ].

The roles covered by women have been deeply investigated. Scholars have focused on the role of women in their families and the society as a whole [e.g., 14 , 15 ], and, more widely, in business contexts [e.g., 18 , 81 ]. Indeed, despite still lagging behind their male counterparts [e.g., 86 , 87 ], in the last decade there has been an increase in top ranked positions achieved by women [e.g., 88 , 89 ]. Following this phenomenon, scholars have posed greater attention towards the presence of women in the board of directors [e.g., 16 , 18 , 90 , 91 ], given the increasing pressure to appoint female directors that firms, especially listed ones, have experienced. Other scholars have focused on the presence of women covering the role of CEO [e.g., 17 , 92 ] or being part of the top management team [e.g., 93 ]. Irrespectively of the level of analysis, all these studies tried to uncover the antecedents of women’s presence among top managers [e.g., 92 , 94 ] and the consequences of having a them involved in the firm’s decision-making –e.g., on performance [e.g., 19 , 95 , 96 ], risk [e.g., 97 , 98 ], and corporate social responsibility [e.g., 99 , 100 ].

Besides studying the difficulties and discriminations faced by women in getting a job [ 81 , 101 ], and, more specifically in the hiring , appointment, or career progression to these apical roles [e.g., 70 , 83 ], the majority of research of women’s roles dealt with compensation issues. Specifically, scholars highlight the pay-gap that still exists between women and men, both in general [e.g., 64 , 65 ], as well as referring to boards’ directors [e.g., 70 , 102 ], CEOs and executives [e.g., 69 , 103 , 104 ].

Finally, other scholars focused on the behavior of women when dealing with business. In this sense, particular attention has been paid to leadership and entrepreneurial behaviors. The former quite overlaps with dealing with the roles mentioned above, but also includes aspects such as leaders being stereotyped as masculine [e.g., 105 ], the need for greater exposure to female leaders to reduce biases [e.g., 106 ], or female leaders acting as queen bees [e.g., 107 ]. Regarding entrepreneurship , scholars mainly investigated women’s entrepreneurial entry [e.g., 108 , 109 ], differences between female and male entrepreneurs in the evaluations and funding received from investors [e.g., 110 , 111 ], and their performance gap [e.g., 112 , 113 ].

Education has long been recognized as key to social advancement and economic stability [ 114 ], for job progression and also a barrier to gender equality, especially in STEM-related fields. Research on education and gender equality is mostly linked with the topics of compensation , human capital , career progression , hiring , parenting and decision-making .

Education contributes to a higher human capital [ 115 ] and constitutes an investment on the part of women towards their future. In this context, literature points to the gender gap in educational attainment, and the consequences for women from a social, economic, personal and professional standpoint. Women are found to have less access to formal education and information, especially in emerging countries, which in turn may cause them to lose social and economic opportunities [e.g., 12 , 116 – 119 ]. Education in local and rural communities is also paramount to communicate the benefits of female empowerment , contributing to overall societal well-being [e.g., 120 ].

Once women access education, the image they have of the world and their place in society (i.e., habitus) affects their education performance [ 13 ] and is passed on to their children. These situations reinforce gender stereotypes, which become self-fulfilling prophecies that may negatively affect female students’ performance by lowering their confidence and heightening their anxiety [ 121 , 122 ]. Besides formal education, also the information that women are exposed to on a daily basis contributes to their human capital . Digital inequalities, for instance, stems from men spending more time online and acquiring higher digital skills than women [ 123 ].

Education is also a factor that should boost employability of candidates and thus hiring , career progression and compensation , however the relationship between these factors is not straightforward [ 115 ]. First, educational choices ( decision-making ) are influenced by variables such as self-efficacy and the presence of barriers, irrespectively of the career opportunities they offer, especially in STEM [ 124 ]. This brings additional difficulties to women’s enrollment and persistence in scientific and technical fields of study due to stereotypes and biases [ 125 , 126 ]. Moreover, access to education does not automatically translate into job opportunities for women and minority groups [ 127 , 128 ] or into female access to managerial positions [ 129 ].

Finally, parenting is reported as an antecedent of education [e.g., 130 ], with much of the literature focusing on the role of parents’ education on the opportunities afforded to children to enroll in education [ 131 – 134 ] and the role of parenting in their offspring’s perception of study fields and attitudes towards learning [ 135 – 138 ]. Parental education is also a predictor of the other related topics, namely human capital and compensation [ 139 ].


This literature mainly points to the fact that women are thought to make decisions differently than men. Women have indeed different priorities, such as they care more about people’s well-being, working with people or helping others, rather than maximizing their personal (or their firm’s) gain [ 140 ]. In other words, women typically present more communal than agentic behaviors, which are instead more frequent among men [ 141 ]. These different attitude, behavior and preferences in turn affect the decisions they make [e.g., 142 ] and the decision-making of the firm in which they work [e.g., 143 ].

At the individual level, gender affects, for instance, career aspirations [e.g., 144 ] and choices [e.g., 142 , 145 ], or the decision of creating a venture [e.g., 108 , 109 , 146 ]. Moreover, in everyday life, women and men make different decisions regarding partners [e.g., 147 ], childcare [e.g., 148 ], education [e.g., 149 ], attention to the environment [e.g., 150 ] and politics [e.g., 151 ].

At the firm level, scholars highlighted, for example, how the presence of women in the board affects corporate decisions [e.g., 152 , 153 ], that female CEOs are more conservative in accounting decisions [e.g., 154 ], or that female CFOs tend to make more conservative decisions regarding the firm’s financial reporting [e.g., 155 ]. Nevertheless, firm level research also investigated decisions that, influenced by gender bias, affect women, such as those pertaining hiring [e.g., 156 , 157 ], compensation [e.g., 73 , 158 ], or the empowerment of women once appointed [ 159 ].

Career progression.

Once women have entered the workforce, the key aspect to achieve gender equality becomes career progression , including efforts toward overcoming the glass ceiling. Indeed, according to the SBS analysis, career progression is highly related to words such as work, social issues and equality. The topic with which it has the highest semantic overlap is role , followed by decision-making , hiring , education , compensation , leadership , human capital , and family .

Career progression implies an advancement in the hierarchical ladder of the firm, assigning managerial roles to women. Coherently, much of the literature has focused on identifying rationales for a greater female participation in the top management team and board of directors [e.g., 95 ] as well as the best criteria to ensure that the decision-makers promote the most valuable employees irrespectively of their individual characteristics, such as gender [e.g., 84 ]. The link between career progression , role and compensation is often provided in practice by performance appraisal exercises, frequently rooted in a culture of meritocracy that guides bonuses, salary increases and promotions. However, performance appraisals can actually mask gender-biased decisions where women are held to higher standards than their male colleagues [e.g., 83 , 84 , 95 , 160 , 161 ]. Women often have less opportunities to gain leadership experience and are less visible than their male colleagues, which constitute barriers to career advancement [e.g., 162 ]. Therefore, transparency and accountability, together with procedures that discourage discretionary choices, are paramount to achieve a fair career progression [e.g., 84 ], together with the relaxation of strict job boundaries in favor of cross-functional and self-directed tasks [e.g., 163 ].

In addition, a series of stereotypes about the type of leadership characteristics that are required for top management positions, which fit better with typical male and agentic attributes, are another key barrier to career advancement for women [e.g., 92 , 160 ].

Hiring is the entrance gateway for women into the workforce. Therefore, it is related to other workforce topics such as compensation , role , career progression , decision-making , human capital , performance , organization and education .

A first stream of literature focuses on the process leading up to candidates’ job applications, demonstrating that bias exists before positions are even opened, and it is perpetuated both by men and women through networking and gatekeeping practices [e.g., 164 , 165 ].

The hiring process itself is also subject to biases [ 166 ], for example gender-congruity bias that leads to men being preferred candidates in male-dominated sectors [e.g., 167 ], women being hired in positions with higher risk of failure [e.g., 168 ] and limited transparency and accountability afforded by written processes and procedures [e.g., 164 ] that all contribute to ascriptive inequality. In addition, providing incentives for evaluators to hire women may actually work to this end; however, this is not the case when supporting female candidates endangers higher-ranking male ones [ 169 ].

Another interesting perspective, instead, looks at top management teams’ composition and the effects on hiring practices, indicating that firms with more women in top management are less likely to lay off staff [e.g., 152 ].


Several scholars posed their attention towards women’s performance, its consequences [e.g., 170 , 171 ] and the implications of having women in decision-making positions [e.g., 18 , 19 ].

At the individual level, research focused on differences in educational and academic performance between women and men, especially referring to the gender gap in STEM fields [e.g., 171 ]. The presence of stereotype threats–that is the expectation that the members of a social group (e.g., women) “must deal with the possibility of being judged or treated stereotypically, or of doing something that would confirm the stereotype” [ 172 ]–affects women’s interested in STEM [e.g., 173 ], as well as their cognitive ability tests, penalizing them [e.g., 174 ]. A stronger gender identification enhances this gap [e.g., 175 ], whereas mentoring and role models can be used as solutions to this problem [e.g., 121 ]. Despite the negative effect of stereotype threats on girls’ performance [ 176 ], female and male students perform equally in mathematics and related subjects [e.g., 177 ]. Moreover, while individuals’ performance at school and university generally affects their achievements and the field in which they end up working, evidence reveals that performance in math or other scientific subjects does not explain why fewer women enter STEM working fields; rather this gap depends on other aspects, such as culture, past working experiences, or self-efficacy [e.g., 170 ]. Finally, scholars have highlighted the penalization that women face for their positive performance, for instance when they succeed in traditionally male areas [e.g., 178 ]. This penalization is explained by the violation of gender-stereotypic prescriptions [e.g., 179 , 180 ], that is having women well performing in agentic areas, which are typical associated to men. Performance penalization can thus be overcome by clearly conveying communal characteristics and behaviors [ 178 ].

Evidence has been provided on how the involvement of women in boards of directors and decision-making positions affects firms’ performance. Nevertheless, results are mixed, with some studies showing positive effects on financial [ 19 , 181 , 182 ] and corporate social performance [ 99 , 182 , 183 ]. Other studies maintain a negative association [e.g., 18 ], and other again mixed [e.g., 184 ] or non-significant association [e.g., 185 ]. Also with respect to the presence of a female CEO, mixed results emerged so far, with some researches demonstrating a positive effect on firm’s performance [e.g., 96 , 186 ], while other obtaining only a limited evidence of this relationship [e.g., 103 ] or a negative one [e.g., 187 ].

Finally, some studies have investigated whether and how women’s performance affects their hiring [e.g., 101 ] and career progression [e.g., 83 , 160 ]. For instance, academic performance leads to different returns in hiring for women and men. Specifically, high-achieving men are called back significantly more often than high-achieving women, which are penalized when they have a major in mathematics; this result depends on employers’ gendered standards for applicants [e.g., 101 ]. Once appointed, performance ratings are more strongly related to promotions for women than men, and promoted women typically show higher past performance ratings than those of promoted men. This suggesting that women are subject to stricter standards for promotion [e.g., 160 ].

Behavioral aspects related to gender follow two main streams of literature. The first examines female personality and behavior in the workplace, and their alignment with cultural expectations or stereotypes [e.g., 188 ] as well as their impacts on equality. There is a common bias that depicts women as less agentic than males. Certain characteristics, such as those more congruent with male behaviors–e.g., self-promotion [e.g., 189 ], negotiation skills [e.g., 190 ] and general agentic behavior [e.g., 191 ]–, are less accepted in women. However, characteristics such as individualism in women have been found to promote greater gender equality in society [ 192 ]. In addition, behaviors such as display of emotions [e.g., 193 ], which are stereotypically female, work against women’s acceptance in the workplace, requiring women to carefully moderate their behavior to avoid exclusion. A counter-intuitive result is that women and minorities, which are more marginalized in the workplace, tend to be better problem-solvers in innovation competitions due to their different knowledge bases [ 194 ].

The other side of the coin is examined in a parallel literature stream on behavior towards women in the workplace. As a result of biases, prejudices and stereotypes, women may experience adverse behavior from their colleagues, such as incivility and harassment, which undermine their well-being [e.g., 195 , 196 ]. Biases that go beyond gender, such as for overweight people, are also more strongly applied to women [ 197 ].


The role of women and gender bias in organizations has been studied from different perspectives, which mirror those presented in detail in the following sections. Specifically, most research highlighted the stereotypical view of leaders [e.g., 105 ] and the roles played by women within firms, for instance referring to presence in the board of directors [e.g., 18 , 90 , 91 ], appointment as CEOs [e.g., 16 ], or top executives [e.g., 93 ].

Scholars have investigated antecedents and consequences of the presence of women in these apical roles. On the one side they looked at hiring and career progression [e.g., 83 , 92 , 160 , 168 , 198 ], finding women typically disadvantaged with respect to their male counterparts. On the other side, they studied women’s leadership styles and influence on the firm’s decision-making [e.g., 152 , 154 , 155 , 199 ], with implications for performance [e.g., 18 , 19 , 96 ].

Human capital.

Human capital is a transverse topic that touches upon many different aspects of female gender equality. As such, it has the most associations with other topics, starting with education as mentioned above, with career-related topics such as role , decision-making , hiring , career progression , performance , compensation , leadership and organization . Another topic with which there is a close connection is behavior . In general, human capital is approached both from the education standpoint but also from the perspective of social capital.

The behavioral aspect in human capital comprises research related to gender differences for example in cultural and religious beliefs that influence women’s attitudes and perceptions towards STEM subjects [ 142 , 200 – 202 ], towards employment [ 203 ] or towards environmental issues [ 150 , 204 ]. These cultural differences also emerge in the context of globalization which may accelerate gender equality in the workforce [ 205 , 206 ]. Gender differences also appear in behaviors such as motivation [ 207 ], and in negotiation [ 190 ], and have repercussions on women’s decision-making related to their careers. The so-called gender equality paradox sees women in countries with lower gender equality more likely to pursue studies and careers in STEM fields, whereas the gap in STEM enrollment widens as countries achieve greater equality in society [ 171 ].

Career progression is modeled by literature as a choice-process where personal preferences, culture and decision-making affect the chosen path and the outcomes. Some literature highlights how women tend to self-select into different professions than men, often due to stereotypes rather than actual ability to perform in these professions [ 142 , 144 ]. These stereotypes also affect the perceptions of female performance or the amount of human capital required to equal male performance [ 110 , 193 , 208 ], particularly for mothers [ 81 ]. It is therefore often assumed that women are better suited to less visible and less leadership -oriented roles [ 209 ]. Women also express differing preferences towards work-family balance, which affect whether and how they pursue human capital gains [ 210 ], and ultimately their career progression and salary .

On the other hand, men are often unaware of gendered processes and behaviors that they carry forward in their interactions and decision-making [ 211 , 212 ]. Therefore, initiatives aimed at increasing managers’ human capital –by raising awareness of gender disparities in their organizations and engaging them in diversity promotion–are essential steps to counter gender bias and segregation [ 213 ].

Emerging topics: Leadership and entrepreneurship

Among the emerging topics, the most pervasive one is women reaching leadership positions in the workforce and in society. This is still a rare occurrence for two main types of factors, on the one hand, bias and discrimination make it harder for women to access leadership positions [e.g., 214 – 216 ], on the other hand, the competitive nature and high pressure associated with leadership positions, coupled with the lack of women currently represented, reduce women’s desire to achieve them [e.g., 209 , 217 ]. Women are more effective leaders when they have access to education, resources and a diverse environment with representation [e.g., 218 , 219 ].

One sector where there is potential for women to carve out a leadership role is entrepreneurship . Although at the start of the millennium the discourse on entrepreneurship was found to be “discriminatory, gender-biased, ethnocentrically determined and ideologically controlled” [ 220 ], an increasing body of literature is studying how to stimulate female entrepreneurship as an alternative pathway to wealth, leadership and empowerment [e.g., 221 ]. Many barriers exist for women to access entrepreneurship, including the institutional and legal environment, social and cultural factors, access to knowledge and resources, and individual behavior [e.g., 222 , 223 ]. Education has been found to raise women’s entrepreneurial intentions [e.g., 224 ], although this effect is smaller than for men [e.g., 109 ]. In addition, increasing self-efficacy and risk-taking behavior constitute important success factors [e.g., 225 ].

Finally, the topic of sustainability is worth mentioning, as it is the primary objective of the SDGs and is closely associated with societal well-being. As society grapples with the effects of climate change and increasing depletion of natural resources, a narrative has emerged on women and their greater link to the environment [ 226 ]. Studies in developed countries have found some support for women leaders’ attention to sustainability issues in firms [e.g., 227 – 229 ], and smaller resource consumption by women [ 230 ]. At the same time, women will likely be more affected by the consequences of climate change [e.g., 230 ] but often lack the decision-making power to influence local decision-making on resource management and environmental policies [e.g., 231 ].

Research gaps and conclusions

Research on gender equality has advanced rapidly in the past decades, with a steady increase in publications, both in mainstream topics related to women in education and the workforce, and in emerging topics. Through a novel approach combining methods of text mining and social network analysis, we examined a comprehensive body of literature comprising 15,465 papers published between 2000 and mid 2021 on topics related to gender equality. We identified a set of 27 topics addressed by the literature and examined their connections.

At the highest level of abstraction, it is worth noting that papers abound on the identification of issues related to gender inequalities and imbalances in the workforce and in society. Literature has thoroughly examined the (unconscious) biases, barriers, stereotypes, and discriminatory behaviors that women are facing as a result of their gender. Instead, there are much fewer papers that discuss or demonstrate effective solutions to overcome gender bias [e.g., 121 , 143 , 145 , 163 , 194 , 213 , 232 ]. This is partly due to the relative ease in studying the status quo, as opposed to studying changes in the status quo. However, we observed a shift in the more recent years towards solution seeking in this domain, which we strongly encourage future researchers to focus on. In the future, we may focus on collecting and mapping pro-active contributions to gender studies, using additional Natural Language Processing techniques, able to measure the sentiment of scientific papers [ 43 ].

All of the mainstream topics identified in our literature review are closely related, and there is a wealth of insights looking at the intersection between issues such as education and career progression or human capital and role . However, emerging topics are worthy of being furtherly explored. It would be interesting to see more work on the topic of female entrepreneurship , exploring aspects such as education , personality , governance , management and leadership . For instance, how can education support female entrepreneurship? How can self-efficacy and risk-taking behaviors be taught or enhanced? What are the differences in managerial and governance styles of female entrepreneurs? Which personality traits are associated with successful entrepreneurs? Which traits are preferred by venture capitalists and funding bodies?

The emerging topic of sustainability also deserves further attention, as our society struggles with climate change and its consequences. It would be interesting to see more research on the intersection between sustainability and entrepreneurship , looking at how female entrepreneurs are tackling sustainability issues, examining both their business models and their company governance . In addition, scholars are suggested to dig deeper into the relationship between family values and behaviors.

Moreover, it would be relevant to understand how women’s networks (social capital), or the composition and structure of social networks involving both women and men, enable them to increase their remuneration and reach top corporate positions, participate in key decision-making bodies, and have a voice in communities. Furthermore, the achievement of gender equality might significantly change firm networks and ecosystems, with important implications for their performance and survival.

Similarly, research at the nexus of (corporate) governance , career progression , compensation and female empowerment could yield useful insights–for example discussing how enterprises, institutions and countries are managed and the impact for women and other minorities. Are there specific governance structures that favor diversity and inclusion?

Lastly, we foresee an emerging stream of research pertaining how the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic challenged women, especially in the workforce, by making gender biases more evident.

For our analysis, we considered a set of 15,465 articles downloaded from the Scopus database (which is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature). As we were interested in reviewing business and economics related gender studies, we only considered those papers published in journals listed in the Academic Journal Guide (AJG) 2018 ranking of the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS). All the journals listed in this ranking are also indexed by Scopus. Therefore, looking at a single database (i.e., Scopus) should not be considered a limitation of our study. However, future research could consider different databases and inclusion criteria.

With our literature review, we offer researchers a comprehensive map of major gender-related research trends over the past twenty-two years. This can serve as a lens to look to the future, contributing to the achievement of SDG5. Researchers may use our study as a starting point to identify key themes addressed in the literature. In addition, our methodological approach–based on the use of the Semantic Brand Score and its webapp–could support scholars interested in reviewing other areas of research.

Supporting information

S1 text. keywords used for paper selection..



The computing resources and the related technical support used for this work have been provided by CRESCO/ENEAGRID High Performance Computing infrastructure and its staff. CRESCO/ENEAGRID High Performance Computing infrastructure is funded by ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development and by Italian and European research programmes (see http://www.cresco.enea.it/english for information).

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152 Stereotypes Essay Topics: Impressive Ideas List

152 Stereotypes Essay Topics

Many students struggle to choose stereotypes essay topics. That’s because teachers and professors expect them to write about unique titles. However, stereotype covers many aspects of human life because it’s oversimplified, fixed, and widely held idea or image of a person or thing.

Since humans are different, living without assumptions becomes difficult. While some expectations are harmless, others lead to discrimination. Overall, stereotyping plays an influential role in people’s interactions. Some individuals impose specific behaviors on others without sufficient evidence.

Therefore, choosing stereotype topics for essays requires a careful understanding of this concept. Also, you must learn to recognize stereotypes in society-wide thinking patterns and everyday life to know what the educator expects you to write about in your paper. This article explains what stereotype is while listing 150-plus topics for stereotype essays. It’s a helpful article because it provides knowledge and ideas to students struggling to pick stereotype topics for their papers.

What Is a Stereotype?

A stereotype is a fixed idea several people have about a group or a thing that is partly true or untrue. Social psychologists define stereotype as an over-generalized, fixed belief about a specific class or group of people. When people stereotype others, they infer that people have a wide range of abilities and characteristics that others assume every member of that particular group possesses.

Educators ask students to write about stereotypes because it’s a prolific issue in society. Apart from being a preconceived idea about a specific group, a stereotype is a degree of people’s expectations for individuals in that class. And these expectations are centered on a particular belief, attitude, and personality.

Stereotypes are often inaccurate, and they create misconceptions about a community. While they sometimes help people understand a group, its heritage, and culture, stereotypes are over-generalized. And this over-generalization can harm some individuals in a group because people aren’t entirely identical to those preconceived ideas.

How To Write Good Essay On Stereotypes

Has your college or university lecturer assigned you a stereotype essay? If so, you want to write a good essay and score the top grade in your class. These steps will help you write a winning essay about stereotypes.

Choose an interesting topic : Selecting a topic for a stereotype essay might seem easy for some learners. However, it requires a careful understanding of stereotypes and what the educator expects to read in your paper. Outline your essay : Use the essay prompt to outline your paper. Your outline should highlight where your thesis statement will go and the content to include in your stereotype essay introduction, body, and conclusion. Brainstorm for ideas : Once you have an outline, brainstorm for the issues to write about in your paper. That way, you will save the time you spend rewriting and reorganizing some parts of your paper. Read stereotype essay samples : If you have the time, read good samples of stereotype essays before writing. That way, you will know how the educator expects you to organize and present information. Research : Take your time researching and gathering information for your essay. Your research should gather relevant examples and evidence to support your arguments. Write the essay : Follow your outline to write the paper using the information you gathered in your research. Present your argument with supporting evidence for every point you make in the body section. Conclude your essay : Wrap up your piece, summarizing your main points with unique words. Don’t introduce anything new in the conclusion. Write the bibliography : Include a reference for all the information sources, including journal articles and books that you used to research your topic. Proofread your essay : Read through the paper, eliminating all typos, spelling, and factual errors.

Some stereotypes are highly controversial. Therefore, present information that won’t offend your readers if you opt to write about such topics. If you don’t want to face those doubts alone, english essay writers from our team will be glad to solve this problem for you.

The Best Stereotype Essay Topics

Once you’ve known how to write a stereotype essay, you may want the best topics for your paper. This list has the best ideas to consider for a stereotype essay.

  • A formal critique for the men bashing stereotype
  • How society has traditionally stereotyped female characters
  • Racism issues- Stereotypes and looks
  • The trap music and women- Is it succumbing to this stereotype or empowering females?
  • How video games depict stereotypes for boys
  • Alcohol in Canada and aboriginals stereotype
  • How movies reflect the Chinese stereotypes
  • How the media propagate white women stereotypes
  • Reviewing stereotypes- Arousal and treat
  • The female’s math performance stereotype- What are the effects?
  • How the media presents different stereotypes
  • Do the media promote stereotyping?
  • How activating gender stereotypes influence females
  • Stereotype threat- How does it affect a person’s education?
  • How television perpetuates gender stereotypes
  • The American citizens’ stereotypes
  • Is learning to stereotype others a lifelong process?
  • Describe the Canadian stereotypes
  • Stereotypes, lies, and sex- Is being prejudiced due to inequalities correct?
  • Is the mathematics achievement gap a reality or stereotype for African American students?
  • Stereotype image and rhetoric aspects
  • Stereotypes and culture- What’s the correlation?
  • Superheroes and gender stereotypes
  • Are gender stereotypes relevant in gender studies?
  • The stereotype and hoodies- Is it good or bad?
  • What is a stereotype threat?
  • Do modern toys perpetuate gender stereotypes?
  • Are stereotypes significant in communication?
  • What stereotypes do people have towards the Chinese?
  • Evaluating culture and gender stereotypes- What’s the relationship?
  • Using anthropology to evaluate stereotypes
  • Stereotypes of Muslims and Islam in the west

Pick any of these topics if you want to research and write about something your teacher will find interesting to read.

Hot Topic Ideas For An Essay On Stereotype

Maybe you’re looking for a hot topic to research and write about in your stereotype essay. In that case, consider these ideas.

  • Evaluating workplace gender stereotypes
  • Prejudices and stereotypes within the human resource sector
  • Racial stereotypes, intersectionality, and identity
  • Family gender stereotypes- Do they exist?
  • Gender stereotypes and race in literature
  • Sociology- The influence of stereotypes
  • Stereotypes and rhetoric
  • African-Americans prejudices and stereotypes
  • Fighting gender stereotypes- Which methods are the best?
  • Misunderstanding and gender stereotypes- What’s the difference?
  • Do the media develop stereotypes about minorities in society?
  • Cultural perspectives and aging stereotypes
  • Gender roles distribution and women stereotypes
  • How women perceive the long-existing gender stereotypes
  • How Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight film presents stereotypes
  • How gender stereotypes affect mental health and career
  • How families perpetuate gender stereotypes
  • Illness and health in the community- What’s the role of stereotypes?
  • How families develop gender stereotypes
  • How children develop gender stereotypes
  • Evaluating gender stereotypes in eastern and western cultures
  • How the media perpetuate Arab stereotypes
  • Relationship development and dating stereotypes

Choose and write about any of these ideas if looking for a hot topic. However, consult some information sources to write an informative essay.

Interesting Stereotype Paper Topics

Do you want to write an essay on an exciting stereotype topic? If so, consider the following exciting ideas.

  • Stereotype and objectivity in sexual media advertisements
  • How stereotype threat affects age differences in terms of memory performance
  • Americanization- The Indian stereotype creation
  • Investigating stereotype in Robert Luketic’s Dumb Blonde in Legally Blonde film
  • The Female Taming stereotype in time in The Taming of the Shew by Shakespeare
  • Women stereotype in a Patriarchal society
  • Using stereotype cues in the perceived mathematics level
  • Understanding the Macho-Man Myth’s gender stereotype
  • Hurston’s Sweat- How stereotypes influence women’s role
  • Gender stereotype imposition by modern society
  • How stereotype and race affect justice
  • Racist stereotype- What is its function in Blackface Minstrelsy?
  • Females are worse drivers than males- Is it a stereotype?
  • Can Stereotype threat affect women’s performance?
  • The schemer stereotype- Understanding its metamorphosis
  • Thinking like a monkey- Analysis of the Animal Social Dynamics in reducing stereotype threat
  • Marketing advertisers and sports media- A Hyper masculine stereotype
  • Stereotype, discrimination, prejudice and Out-group vs. in-group
  • Racial stereotyping- How Merriam define a stereotype
  • A high-achieving Asian-American stereotype

Choose and develop any of such ideas as your essay topic idea. However, take your time investigating various sources to write a winning paper.

Good Topics For Essays About Stereotyping

A good topic is easy to research and write about without compromising your grade. Consider these ideas for a good essay topic.

  • The average media stereotype and the aboriginal people’s problems
  • Macho-Men stereotype plaguing in modern men- A detailed analysis
  • Ending the stereotype- Aboriginals in urban areas have the highest happiness score
  • How does society perpetuate the teenage driver stereotype?
  • How does the violent African-American stereotype affect rap music?
  • Joseph Conrad’s African Characters in the Heart of Darkness- Analyzing stereotype
  • The adverse stereotype of the Jewbird’s Jewish race and the Last Mohican
  • The stranger stereotype and Alice Sebold
  • Pros and cons of fitting into a stereotype
  • Analyzing the masculinity stereotype in the early 1800s
  • Analysis of stereotype and conventional character roles in achieving the author’s purposes
  • Stereotype and perspective in detective novels
  • Criminality stereotype and its impact on poverty
  • Women’s depiction of Women Essay- Marketing, brand stereotype, and Gen
  • Erasing male stereotype and feminine autonomy in the Paycoc and Juno
  • The Chief Illiniwek history- A Racist stereotype and university of Illinois Mascot
  • Women’s role and society’s stereotypes
  • Body type or blood type genotype- Are they the basis of stereotypes?
  • Are television ads stereotyping men and women’s roles in society?
  • Stereotype Italian-American in the Cable Show, Sopranos, in the United States
  • How stereotype threat impacts women’s ability
  • American cheerleader- The stereotype, the icon, and the truth

Choose and work on any of these ideas to write an excellent essay about stereotypes. However, some of these ideas require extensive research and analysis before writing.

Social And Gender Stereotype Essay Topics

Do you want to write a paper about gender and stereotype? If so, consider these ideas for your stereotype essay.

  • Investigating the correlation between employment and gender stereotypes
  • Gender stereotypes in academic and family settings
  • Dominant male stereotypes
  • Reasons to research gender stereotypes
  • Gender stereotypes- Data analysis
  • Gender stereotypes and data presentation
  • The U.S. women and gender stereotypes
  • How the U.S. media presents Latinos gender stereotypes, culture, and values
  • Social psychology- Stereotypes and prejudice
  • Stereotype threat among African-Americans
  • Stereotypes and cultural differences in Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes
  • Is stereotype discrimination and bias?
  • Adolescents workmates- Best practices and stereotypes
  • Seeing Africa- How to destroy stereotypes
  • What are the roots of African-American stereotypes?
  • Stereotypes and ethnocentrism in Crash, the movie
  • Ortiz Cofer’s Essay- Investigating stereotypes
  • Mass media- How stereotypes affect people
  • The racial and ethnic stereotypes in the American literature and media
  • Stereotypes and rhetoric in modern society
  • Subject-informal logic- Stereotypes and rhetoric
  • Can music reinforce stereotypes?
  • Cross-cultural stereotypes and competence

These ideas are suitable for an essay on gender and social stereotypes. However, research your topic extensively before writing.

Easy Stereotype Essay Ideas

Maybe you need an easy topic for your stereotype paper. If so, pick any of these ideas for your essay on stereotypes.

  • How cultural diversity affects stereotypes
  • Positive and negative impacts of ethnic and racial stereotypes
  • How the women’s rights movement changed stereotypes and gender roles
  • How gender stereotypes affect children
  • Stereotypes that Americans hold before visiting the third world
  • How gender stereotypes affect society
  • Classroom gender stereotypes
  • Gender stereotypes and gender labeling
  • Can children grow without gender stereotypes?
  • How stereotypes affect community colleges
  • Revealing stereotypes among immigrants in schools
  • How stereotypes affect Haitians in the U.S.
  • The Roman empire and racial stereotypes
  • How racial stereotype impacts everyday life
  • Gender and sexism stereotypes in the P.R. sector
  • Stereotypes about the American culture
  • Common stereotypes and misconceptions about lesbians and gays
  • Stereotypes and stigma of mental illness
  • What causes persistent ethnic and racial stereotypes?
  • Stereotypes that Black-American teenagers face
  • How television commercials perpetuate gender stereotypes
  • The role of native Americans’ stereotypes and Native people’s dominance
  • Are stereotypes dangerous- How can society reduce them?
  • Menstruation stereotypes- Why society should abandon them
  • Clothing and stereotypes
  • The negative stereotype that the community has towards a bisexual lifestyle
  • How stereotypes differ from prejudices
  • How stereotypes relate to groups’ dynamics
  • The superhero impact- Stereotypes and idealism in comic books
  • Stereotyping students- How to improve academic performance via stereotypes
  • How socialization relates to gender stereotypes
  • Social stereotypes- Are they detrimental, beneficial, or neutral?

Whether you choose cliché essay topics or the latest stereotypes, research your topic extensively to write a winning paper.

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Home — Essay Samples — Sociology — Sociology of Gender — Gender Stereotypes

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Essays on Gender Stereotypes

Gender stereotypes essay, types of gender stereotypes essays.

  • Descriptive Essay: A descriptive essay provides a detailed description of a particular gender stereotype and its impact on individuals and society.
  • Cause and Effect Essay: This type of essay examines the causes and effects of gender stereotypes on individuals and society, including the impact on mental health, career opportunities, and relationships.
  • Compare and Contrast Essay: A compare and contrast essay compares and contrasts two different gender stereotypes, examining their similarities and differences.
  • Persuasive Essay: A persuasive essay argues for or against a particular gender stereotype, urging readers to take action to combat harmful stereotypes and promote gender equality.

Gender Roles Essay Examples: Descriptive Type

  • Identify a specific gender stereotype: Start by selecting a particular gender stereotype that you want to describe. For instance, you can focus on the stereotype that women are weak or that men are emotionless.
  • Use sensory details: Use sensory details such as sounds, smells, and colors to describe the gender stereotype vividly. For example, you can describe the colors that are commonly associated with a particular gender stereotype or the way people's voices change when they try to fit into a stereotype.
  • Provide examples: Use real-life examples to illustrate how the gender stereotype affects people's behavior, emotions, and perceptions. You can use personal experiences or research to provide examples.
  • Use figurative language: Use figurative language such as metaphors, similes, and personification to enhance the descriptive language in your essay. For instance, you can use a metaphor to describe how gender stereotypes act like a cage that limits people's potential.
  • Focus on the impact: Discuss the impact of the gender stereotype on people's lives. You can describe how the stereotype affects people's mental and physical health, relationships, and career opportunities.

Gender Stereotypes: Cause and Effect Essay

  • Choose a specific aspect of gender stereotypes to focus on, such as their impact on the workplace, relationships, or media representation.
  • Research and gather evidence to support your claims about the causes and effects of gender stereotypes.
  • Use clear and concise language to explain the causal relationships between different factors and how they contribute to gender stereotypes.
  • Use real-life examples and statistics to illustrate the effects of gender stereotypes on individuals and society.
  • Consider different perspectives and viewpoints to provide a balanced analysis of the issue.

Compare and Contrast Essay on Gender Stereotypes

  • Choose a clear topic: Select a specific topic related to gender stereotypes that has two opposing viewpoints or perspectives that you can compare and contrast.
  • Conduct research: Gather information and data from reputable sources that support both points of view. This will provide you with a clear understanding of each perspective.
  • Organize your essay: Create an outline that outlines the structure of your essay, including the introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Use strong evidence: Use clear examples and evidence to support your comparison of the two perspectives. Provide specific examples of gender stereotypes and explain how they are similar or different between the two perspectives.
  • Use appropriate language: Use formal and objective language when writing a compare and contrast essay. Avoid using personal opinions or biased language that could influence the reader's opinion.
  • Proofread and edit: Review and edit your essay carefully to ensure that it is well-structured, clear, and free of errors.

Gender Stereotypes Persuasive Essay

  • Choose a clear and concise thesis statement that expresses your argument and main points.
  • Conduct research to support your arguments with credible sources and statistics.
  • Use emotional appeals and rhetorical devices such as metaphors, similes, and anecdotes to engage and persuade the reader.
  • Address counterarguments and provide evidence to refute them.
  • Use a logical and organized structure to guide the reader through your argument.
  • Use strong and assertive language to express your ideas.

Tips for Choosing Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics

  • Focus on a particular stereotype: Choose a specific gender stereotype and examine its impact on individuals and society.
  • Consider current events: Look at recent news stories or events related to gender stereotypes and their effects.
  • Personal experiences: Consider your own experiences with gender stereotypes and how they have affected you or others you know.
  • Research trends: Look at recent studies or research on gender stereotypes and choose a topic that interests you.

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Gender Stereotypes in Disney Princess Movies

Gender stereotypes in parenting and family, definitions, development and aftermath of racial and gender stereotypes, representation of negative gender stereotypes in the movie mulan, gender stereotypes: disney princesses are not harmful to young girls, unfavorability and favorability of female boss, the problem of a lack of female leaders, a theme of gender equality in trifles by susan glaspell, women's struggle in fighting gender inequality in the us, gender roles and stereotypes in walt disney's films, representation of stereotypes in the media, gender differences in the education achievements of boys and girls, women in literature: lanyer vs. modern stereotypes, the portrayals of females and males in superhero movies, rape culture: victim blaming and gender stereotyping, the problem of stereotypes in american society, gender roles in asian culture: their reflection in literature, objectifying women in ads: "sex sells", mistreatment of women in alfred hitchcock’s films, the influence of "sex and the city" on the public’s opinion of gender representation.

A gender stereotype is a generalized view or preconception about attributes or characteristics, or the roles that are or ought to be possessed by, or performed by, women and men.

The four basic kinds of gender stereotypes can relate to personality traits, domestic behaviors, occupations, and physical appearance.

Women are natural nurturers; men are natural leaders. Women with children are less devoted to their jobs. Boys and men are expected to use violence and aggression to prove their manliness. Boys should be directed to like blue and green; girls toward red and pink.

1. Ellemers, N. (2018). Gender stereotypes. Annual review of psychology, 69, 275-298. (https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-psych-122216-011719) 2. Heilman, M. E. (2012). Gender stereotypes and workplace bias. Research in organizational Behavior, 32, 113-135. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191308512000093) 3. Haines, E. L., Deaux, K., & Lofaro, N. (2016). The times they are a-changing
 or are they not? A comparison of gender stereotypes, 1983–2014. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 40(3), 353-363. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0361684316634081?journalCode=pwqa) 4. Deaux, K., & Lewis, L. L. (1984). Structure of gender stereotypes: Interrelationships among components and gender label. Journal of personality and Social Psychology, 46(5), 991. (https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1984-25799-001) 5. Cvencek, D., Meltzoff, A. N., & Greenwald, A. G. (2011). Math–gender stereotypes in elementary school children. Child development, 82(3), 766-779. (https://srcd.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01529.x) 6. Sanbonmatsu, K. (2002). Gender stereotypes and vote choice. american Journal of political Science, 20-34. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/3088412) 7. Bian, L., Leslie, S. J., & Cimpian, A. (2017). Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests. Science, 355(6323), 389-391. (https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.aah6524) 8. Deaux, K., Winton, W., Crowley, M., & Lewis, L. L. (1985). Level of categorization and content of gender stereotypes. Social Cognition, 3(2), 145-167. (https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/soco.1985.3.2.145) 9. Koch, J. W. (2000). Do citizens apply gender stereotypes to infer candidates' ideological orientations?. The Journal of Politics, 62(2), 414-429. (https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1111/0022-3816.00019)

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Top 150 Gender Research Topics For An Excellent Paper

Creating a successful academic paper is surely not easy for most students. Moreover, writing on one of the women's and gender studies paper topics can appear to be a real challenge. Fortunately, we are here to help. Discover the freshest tips on how to write an astonishing essay and pick up any of the topics from our hotlist.

How To Write An Essay On Gender Roles Topics

There is one basic rule any student should always follow when creating essays of this kind. This is meeting the requirements of the traditional structure of the academic paper. Here is how it will look like in your case:

  • Introduction: Make sure to create an eye-catching beginning of your paper. The best thing to come up with a nice introduction is to pick up the most controversial option among various interesting women's studies topics. This way, you will grab the interest of the reader right from the start. By the way, it is important to be brief and come up with a striking thesis at the end of your introduction.
  • Main part: Here comes the main info you want to share with the audience. As a rule, you will need to find several powerful arguments about gender roles, feminism, or other related topics. You are expected to come up with convincing arguments that will support the facts, discovered during your research. Moreover, you can share your own understanding of gender power, the issues related to this area in modern society, as well as provide some recommendations on how to solve them.
  • Conclusion: This is a brief summary of your paper. Avoid writing about any new facts in this part but just sum up your research facts and ideas.
  • Bibliography. The last part of your academic paper is a list of sources you’ve used for creating an essay. Don’t forget to add a bibliography list to your paper to get the best scores for your assignment.

Top Feminist Research Topics For Your Paper

Feminism has been one of the most disputable trends in society for centuries. What were its basic principles a few decades ago? How did the feminist ethics change? What is modern feminism about? Writing on one of these topics will help you create an up-to-date academic paper.

  • The Development Of Feminism
  • Feminism: Basic Facts And Concepts
  • Feminism In The 20th Century
  • Feminism In Social Relations
  • The Attitude Of Modern Teenagers Towards Feminism
  • The Issues Of Feminism Nowadays
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  • Feminism And Transgender Theory
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  • What Is Antifeminism?
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  • Top Feminist Literature
  • Democracy And Feminism
  • Ecofeminism
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Gender Roles And Issues Topics

Gender roles have been constantly changing. This means you can find tons of ideas to write a brilliant essay about gender roles and their development throughout the years.

  • Men And Women Roles In Childcare
  • Women’s Roles In The 20th Century
  • The Psychology Of Gender
  • Women’s Rights
  • Gender Roles And Employment
  • Women’s Roles During The Industrial Revolution
  • Gender Roles In Building A Career
  • The Concepts Of Gendered Society
  • Gender-related Issues In The Modern World
  • Psychological Differences Between Men And Women
  • Women’s Roles In The Ancient World
  • Women’s Roles In The Middle Ages
  • Women In Combat
  • Women In Non-traditional Roles
  • The Theories Of Gender Development
  • The Basic Concepts Of Gender Identity
  • Men And Women In Politics
  • Traditional Feminine Traits
  • Differences In The Behavior Of Men And Women
  • The Attitude In Different Societies Towards Women
  • Importance Of Girl’s Education
  • The Pros And Cons Of Changing Gender Roles

Women-Related Studies Topics: Abortions

Abortion has been among the most controversial topics for years. Moreover, it continues to be one of the burning issues in modern society, too. In case you are looking for a modern, sharp, and disputable idea for your academic paper, feel free to choose a topic about abortion.

  • Abortion Rights In The USA
  • The Risks Of Abortion
  • Pros And Cons Of The Right Of Abortion
  • Abortion Rights In Asia
  • Abortion Rights In Europe
  • Sex-selective Abortion
  • Women’s Movements Related To Abortion
  • Abortion: Cases And Controversies
  • Abortion Policies: A Global Review
  • The Times When Abortion Was A Crime
  • Abortion And Politics
  • The Modern Ways Of Birth Control
  • Abortion And Democracy
  • Abortion In Judaism
  • The Abortion Question
  • Psychological Conditions After Abortion
  • Abortion And Depression
  • Abortion And Further Pregnancies
  • The Benefits Of Reproductive Freedom
  • Defense Of Abortion
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  • Abortion In India
  • Fertility Control In Different Countries
  • Fertility And Abortion
  • Abortion: Public Opinion
  • Abortion From Doctor’s Retrospective

Gender Stereotypes Research Paper Topics

Although we live in a developed society, there are still lots of gender stereotypes thousands of people believe in. Many of these stereotypes are related to gender, as well as relationships in families. You can create a gender stereotypes research paper using one of the following ideas.

  • Patriarchal Stereotypes In Family Relationships
  • Gender Stereotypes In The Advertisement
  • Gender Stereotypes On TV
  • Gender Stereotypes In The Gaming Industry
  • Gender Stereotypes In Different Countries
  • Sei Shonagons Pillow Book Analysis
  • The Psychology Of Stereotyping
  • Dominance Stereotypes
  • Ways To Fight Gender Stereotypes
  • Gender Stereotype Activation: Basic Concepts
  • Gender-role Stereotyping And Career Aspirations
  • Gender Role Stereotyping In Children's Imaginary Friends
  • Gender Stereotypes Dynamics
  • Stereotyping And Discrimination
  • Gender Stereotypes In Different Age Groups
  • Stereotypes About Same-sex Marriages
  • Adoption Of Sex-role Stereotyped Behaviors
  • Sex-role Stereotypes

Women's Rights Topics: Gender Inequality

Gender inequality has been an issue in most countries for centuries. However, in many societies, this problem still continues to be sharp. Therefore, one of the topics on gender inequality might become an excellent choice for many students.

  • Gender-neutral Language
  • The Issue Of Gender Inequality In The Modern World
  • How To Fight Gender Inequality
  • Gender Inequality Policies
  • Primary Source Analysis On Gender Ain't A Woman
  • Racial And Gender Inequality In African Countries
  • The Modernization Of Gender Inequality In Brazil
  • Class, Race, Gender, And Inequality
  • The Indications Of Inequality Between The Sexes
  • Inequality And Education
  • Inequality At The Workplace
  • Factors Causing Gender Inequality
  • Inequality In Business
  • Sexuality And Politics

Gender Studies Research Topics: Psychology Of Gender

The psychology of gender is one of the most interesting topics for discussion. You will definitely find lots of the newest research on this issue and will be able to write a fresh and up-to-date academic paper.

  • Camel And Cactus Test
  • Femme Invisibility
  • Benevolent Sexism
  • Determining The Relations Between Different Sexes
  • Gender-parity In Parenting
  • Sex-role Theory In Sociology
  • Men And Women In Sports
  • Impact Of Discrimination On The Development Of Boys And Girls
  • Lack Of Female Leaders In Politics
  • Women Without Children: Issues And Opportunities
  • Discrimination In Marriage
  • Technology And Gender Psychology
  • Modern Gender Norms
  • The Future Of Gender Norms
  • The Role Of Motherhood In The Lives Of Women
  • How To Solve A Work-home Conflict Of Modern Women

Gender Reassignment Studies Topics

Gender reassignment is becoming common in the modern world. But are there any issues for changing gender in different societies? What makes people change their sex or sexual preferences? You can freely describe these issues in your essay and get top grades for your assignment.

  • Heterosexual Transvestites
  • Homosexuals In Military
  • Polysexual In The Modern World
  • Transsexuals: Basic Concepts And Features
  • Who Are Transgenders?
  • Origin Of Sexual Orientation
  • Why Do People Become Transgenders?
  • Transgender Identities
  • Socializing Transgenders
  • Bisexuals In A Modern Society
  • Gender Reassignment In Muslim Cultures
  • Sex Reassignment And Personal Identity
  • Rethinking Gender And Therapy

Powerful Gender Research Topics

There are many controversial topics you can write about in your academic paper. For example, same-sex marriages, legalization of prostitution, sexuality, and many others.

  • Legalization Of Prostitution
  • Same-sex Adoption Rights
  • Same-sex Marriage
  • Signs Of Sexuality
  • Gender-based Violence
  • Human Trafficking
  • Healthy Relations Between Sexes
  • Types Of Abuse And How To Stop It
  • The Role Of Women In The Modern World
  • The Problem Of Gender Diversity
  • Determining Sexual Orientation
  • Psychology Of Gender
  • Men Vs. Women: Who Is Stronger?
  • Types Of Sexual Orientations
  • Gender And Mental Health

How To Write A Gender-Related Academic Paper

There is nothing new that choosing a research topic for women gender studies is not easy. However, picking up the most fitting option among hundreds of gender and feminist research paper topics is only half of the job you need to do complete your assignment. So, what else are you expected to do to get the best scores in a class?

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  • Influential women in wellness
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  • The role of women during the industrial revolution
  • Books about women

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Twenty Years of Stereotype Threat Research: A Review of Psychological Mediators

Charlotte r. pennington.

Department of Psychology, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

Andrew R. Levy

Derek t. larkin.

Analyzed the data: CRP DH. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: CRP DH ARL DTL. Wrote the paper: CRP. Developed the review design and protocol: CRP DH AL DL. Reviewed the manuscript: DH AL DL. Cross-checked articles in systematic review: CRP DH.

Associated Data

All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

This systematic literature review appraises critically the mediating variables of stereotype threat. A bibliographic search was conducted across electronic databases between 1995 and 2015. The search identified 45 experiments from 38 articles and 17 unique proposed mediators that were categorized into affective/subjective ( n = 6), cognitive ( n = 7) and motivational mechanisms ( n = 4). Empirical support was accrued for mediators such as anxiety, negative thinking, and mind-wandering, which are suggested to co-opt working memory resources under stereotype threat. Other research points to the assertion that stereotype threatened individuals may be motivated to disconfirm negative stereotypes, which can have a paradoxical effect of hampering performance. However, stereotype threat appears to affect diverse social groups in different ways, with no one mediator providing unequivocal empirical support. Underpinned by the multi-threat framework, the discussion postulates that different forms of stereotype threat may be mediated by distinct mechanisms.


The present review examines the mediators of stereotype threat that have been proposed over the past two decades. It appraises critically the underlying mechanisms of stereotype threat as a function of the type of threat primed, the population studied, and the measures utilized to examine mediation and performance outcomes. Here, we propose that one reason that has precluded studies from finding firm evidence of mediation is the appreciation of distinct forms of stereotype threat.

Stereotype Threat: An Overview

Over the past two decades, stereotype threat has become one of the most widely researched topics in social psychology [ 1 , 2 ]. Reaching its 20 th anniversary, Steele and Aronson’s [ 3 ] original article has gathered approximately 5,000 citations and has been referred to as a 'modern classic' [ 4 , 5 , 6 ]. In stark contrast to theories of genetic intelligence [ 7 , 8 ] (and see [ 9 ] for debate), the theory of stereotype threat posits that stigmatized group members may underperform on diagnostic tests of ability through concerns about confirming a negative societal stereotype as self-characteristic [ 3 ]. Steele and Aronson [ 3 ] demonstrated that African American participants underperformed on a verbal reasoning test when it was presented as a diagnostic indicator of intellectual ability. Conversely, when the same test was presented as non-diagnostic of ability, they performed equivalently to their Caucasian peers. This seminal research indicates that the mere salience of negative societal stereotypes, which may magnify over time, can impede performance. The theory of stereotype threat therefore offers a situational explanation for the ongoing and intractable debate regarding the source of group differences in academic aptitude [ 1 ].

Stereotype threat has been used primarily to explain gaps in intellectual and quantitative test scores between African and European Americans [ 3 , 10 ] and women and men respectively [ 11 ]. However, it is important to acknowledge that many factors shape academic performance, and stereotype threat is unlikely to be the sole explanation for academic achievement gaps [ 12 ]. This is supported by research which has shown “pure” stereotype threat effects on a task in which a gender-achievement gap has not been previously documented [ 13 ], thus suggesting that performance decrements can be elicited simply by reference to a negative stereotype. Furthermore, stereotype threat effects may not be limited to social groups who routinely face stigmatizing attitudes. Rather, it can befall anyone who is a member of a group to which a negative stereotype applies [ 3 ]. For example, research indicates that Caucasian men, a group that have a relatively positive social status, underperform when they believe that their mathematical performance will be compared to that of Asian men [ 14 ]. White men also appear to perform worse than black men when motor tasks are related to 'natural athletic ability' [ 15 , 16 ]. From a theoretical standpoint, stereotype threat exposes how group stereotypes may shape the behavior of individuals in a way that endangers their performance and further reinforces the stereotype [ 10 ].

Over 300 experiments have illustrated the deleterious and extensive effects that stereotype threat can inflict on many different populations [ 17 ]. The possibility of confirming a negative stereotype about one’s group is found to contribute to underperformance on a range of diverse tasks including intelligence [ 3 , 13 ], memory [ 18 , 19 ], mental rotation [ 20 – 23 ], and math tests [ 11 , 24 , 25 ], golf putting [ 26 ], driving [ 27 , 28 ] and childcare skills [ 29 ]. Given the generality of these findings, researchers have turned their efforts to elucidating the underlying mechanisms of this situational phenomenon.

Susceptibility to Stereotype Threat

Research has identified numerous moderators that make tasks more likely to elicit stereotype threat, and individuals more prone to experience it [ 30 , 31 ]. From a methodological perspective, stereotype threat effects tend to emerge on tasks of high difficulty and demand [ 32 , 33 ], however, the extent to which a task is perceived as demanding may be moderated by individual differences in working memory [ 34 ]. Additionally, stereotype threat may be more likely to occur when individuals are conscious of the stigma ascribed to their social group [ 32 , 35 ], believe the stereotypes about their group to be true [ 36 , 37 ], for those with low self-esteem [ 38 ], and an internal locus of control [ 39 ]. Research also indicates that individuals are more susceptible to stereotype threat when they identify strongly with their social group [ 40 , 41 , 42 ] and value the domain [ 10 , 13 , 15 , 33 , 43 ]. However, other research suggests that domain identification is not a prerequisite of stereotype threat effects [ 44 ] and may act as a strategy to overcome harmful academic consequences [ 45 , 46 ].

Mediators of Stereotype Threat

There has also been an exPLOSion of research into the psychological mediators of stereotype threat (c.f. [ 2 , 47 ] for reviews). In their comprehensive review, Schmader et al. [ 2 ] proposed an integrated process model, suggesting that stereotype threat heightens physiological stress responses and influences monitoring and suppression processes to deplete working memory efficiency. This provides an important contribution to the literature, signaling that multiple affective, cognitive and motivational processes may underpin the effects of stereotype threat on performance. However, the extent to which each of these variables has garnered empirical support remains unclear. Furthermore, prior research has overlooked the existence of distinct stereotype threats in the elucidation of mediating variables. Through the lens of the multi-threat framework [ 31 ], the current review distinguishes between different stereotype threat primes, which target either the self or the social group to assess the evidence base with regards to the existence of multiple stereotype threats that may be accounted for by distinct mechanisms.

A Multi-threat Approach to Mediation

Stereotype threat is typically viewed as a form of social identity threat: A situational predicament occurring when individuals perceive their social group to be devalued by others [ 48 , 49 , 50 ]. However, this notion overlooks how individuals may self-stigmatize and evaluate themselves [ 51 , 52 , 53 ] and the conflict people may experience between their personal and social identities [ 54 ]. More recently, researchers have distinguished between the role of the self and the social group in performance-evaluative situations [ 31 ]. The multi-threat framework [ 31 ] identifies six qualitatively distinct stereotype threats that manifest through the intersection of two dimensions: The target of the threat (i.e., is the stereotype applicable to one’s personal or social identity?) and the source of threat (i.e., who will judge performance; the in-group or the out-group?). Focusing on the target of the stereotype, individuals who experience a group-as-target threat may perceive that underperformance will confirm a negative societal stereotype regarding the abilities of their social group. Conversely, individuals who experience a self-as-target threat may perceive that stereotype-consistent performance will be viewed as self-characteristic [ 31 , 55 ]. Individuals may therefore experience either a self or group-based threat dependent on situational cues in the environment that heighten the contingency of a stereotyped identity [ 2 ].

Researchers also theorize that members of diverse stigmatized groups may experience different forms of stereotype threat [ 31 , 56 ], and that these distinct experiences may be mediated by somewhat different processes [ 31 , 57 ]. Indeed, there is some indirect empirical evidence to suggest that this may be the case. For example, Pavlova and colleagues [ 13 ] found that an implicit stereotype threat prime hampered women’s performance on a social cognition task. Conversely, men’s performance suffered when they were primed with an explicit gender-related stereotype. Moreover, Stone and McWhinnie [ 58 ] suggest that subtle stereotype threat cues (i.e., the gender of the experimenter) may evoke a tendency to actively monitor performance and avoid mistakes, whereas blatant stereotype threat cues (i.e., stereotype prime) create distractions that deplete working memory resources. Whilst different stereotype threat cues may simultaneously exert negative effects on performance, it is plausible that they are induced by independent mechanisms [ 58 ]. Nonetheless, insufficient evidence has prevented the multi-threat framework [ 31 ] to be evaluated empirically to date. It therefore remains to be assessed whether the same mechanisms are responsible for the effects of distinct stereotype threats on different populations and performance measures.

The current article offers the first systematic literature review aiming to: 1), identify and examine critically the proposed mediators of stereotype threat; 2), explore whether the effects of self-as-target or group-as-target stereotype threat on performance are the result of qualitatively distinct mediating mechanisms; and 3), evaluate whether different mediators govern different stereotyped populations.

Literature Search

A bibliographic search of electronic databases, such as PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, Web of Knowledge, PubMed, Science Direct and Google Scholar was conducted between the cut-off dates of 1995 (the publication year of Steele & Aronson’s seminal article) and December 2015. A search string was developed by specifying the main terms of the phenomenon under investigation. Here, the combined key words of stereotype and threat were utilized as overarching search parameters and directly paired with either one of the following terms; mediator , mediating , mediate(s) , predictor , predicts , relationship or mechanism(s) . Additional references were retrieved by reviewing the reference lists of relevant journal articles. To control for potential publication bias [ 59 , 60 , 61 ], the lead author also enquired about any ‘in press’ articles by sending out a call for papers through the European Association for Social Psychology. The second author conducted a comparable search using the same criteria to ensure that no studies were overlooked in the original search. Identification of relevant articles and data extraction were conducted in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Statement (PRISMA; See S1 Table ) [ 62 ]. A literature search was conducted separately in each database and the records were exported to citation software, after which duplicates were removed. Relevant articles were screened by examining the title and abstract in line with the eligibility criteria. The remaining articles were assessed for eligibility by performing a full text review [ 63 , 64 ].

Eligibility Criteria

Studies were selected based on the following criteria: 1), researchers utilized a stereotype threat manipulation; 2), a direct mediation analysis was conducted between stereotype threat and performance; 3), researchers found evidence of moderated-mediation, and 4), the full text was available in English. Articles were excluded on the following basis: 1), performance was not the dependent variable, 2), investigations of “stereotype lift”; 3), doctorate, dissertation and review articles (to avoid duplication of included articles); and 4), moderating variables. Articles that did not find any significant results in relation to stereotype threat effects were also excluded in order to capture reliable evidence of mediation [ 65 ]. See Table 1 for details of excluded articles.

Distinguishing Different Stereotype Threats

The current review distinguished between different experiences of stereotype threat by examining each stereotype threat manipulation. Self-as-target threats were categorized on the basis that participants focused on the test as a measure of personal ability whereas group-as-target threats were classified on the basis that participants perceived performance to be diagnostic of their group’s ability [ 31 ].

A total of 45 studies in 38 articles were qualitatively synthesized, uncovering a total of 17 distinct proposed mediators. See Fig 1 for process of article inclusion (full details of article exclusion can be viewed in S1 Supporting Information ). These mediators were categorized into affective/subjective ( n = 6), cognitive ( n = 7) or motivational mechanisms ( n = 4). Effect sizes for mediational findings are described typically through informal descriptors, such as complete , perfect , or partial [ 66 ]. With this in mind, the current findings are reported in terms of complete or partial mediation. Complete mediation indicates that the relationship between stereotype threat ( X ) and performance ( Y ) completely disappears when a mediator ( M ) is added as a predictor variable [ 66 ]. Partial mediation refers to instances in which a significant direct effect remains between stereotype threat and performance when controlling for the mediator, suggesting that additional variables may further explain this relationship [ 67 ]. Instances of moderated mediation are also reported, which occurs when the strength of mediation is contingent on the level of a moderating variable [ 68 ]. The majority of included research utilized a group-as-target prime ( n = 36, 80%) compared to a self-as-target prime ( n = 6; 13.33%). Three studies (6.66%) were uncategorized as they employed subtle stereotype threat primes, for example, manipulating the group composition of the testing environment.

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Affective/Subjective Mechanisms

Researchers have conceptualized stereotype threat frequently as a fear, apprehension or anxiety of confirming a negative stereotype about one’s group [ 3 , 69 , 70 ]. Accordingly, many affective and subjective variables such as anxiety, individuation tendencies, evaluation apprehension, performance expectations, explicit stereotype endorsement and self-efficacy have been proposed to account for the stereotype threat-performance relationship.

Steele and Aronson’s [ 3 ] original study did not find self-reported anxiety to be a significant mediator of the effects of a self-relevant stereotype on African American’s intellectual performance. Extending this work, Spencer et al. (Experiment 3, [ 11 ]) found that anxiety was not predictive of the effects that a negative group stereotype had on women’s mathematical achievement, with further research confirming this [ 14 , 44 , 71 ]. Additional studies have indicated that self-reported anxiety does not influence the impact of self-as-target stereotype elicitation on African American’s cognitive ability [ 72 ], white students’ athletic skills [ 15 ], and group-as-target stereotype threat on older adults’ memory recall [ 18 , 32 ].

Research also suggests that anxiety may account for one of multiple mediators in the stereotype threat-performance relationship. In a field study, Chung and colleagues [ 73 ] found that self-reported state anxiety and specific self-efficacy sequentially mediated the influence of stereotype threat on African American’s promotional exam performance. This finding is supported by Mrazek et al. [ 74 ] who found that anxiety and mind-wandering sequentially mediated the effects of stereotype threat on women’s mathematical ability. Laurin [ 75 ] also found that self-reported somatic anxiety partially mediated the effects of group-as-target stereotype threat on women’s motor performance. Nevertheless, it is viable to question whether this finding is comparable to other studies as stereotype threat had a facilitating effect on performance.

The mixed results regarding anxiety as a potential mediator of performance outcomes may be indicative of various boundary conditions that enhance stereotype threat susceptibility. Consistent with this claim, Gerstenberg, Imhoff and Schmitt (Experiment 3 [ 76 ]) found that women who reported a fragile math self-concept solved fewer math problems under group-as-target stereotype threat and this susceptibility was mediated by increased anxiety. This moderated-mediation suggests that women with a low academic self-concept may be more vulnerable to stereotype threat, with anxiety underpinning its effect on mathematical performance.

Given that anxiety may be relatively difficult to detect via self-report measures [ 3 , 29 ], researchers have utilized indirect measures. For instance, Bosson et al. [ 29 ] found that physiological anxiety mediated the effects of stereotype threat on homosexual males’ performance on an interpersonal task. Nevertheless, this effect has not been replicated for the effects of group-as-target stereotype threat on older adults’ memory recall [ 32 ] and self-as-target threat on children’s writing ability [ 77 ].

Individuation tendencies

Steele and Aronson [ 3 ] proposed that stereotype threat might occur when individuals perceive a negative societal stereotype to be a true representation of personal ability. Based on this, Keller and Sekaquaptewa [ 78 ] examined whether gender-related threats (i.e., group-as-target threat) influenced women to individuate their personal identity (the self) from their social identity (female). Results revealed that participants underperformed on a spatial ability test when they perceived that they were a single in-group representative (female) in a group of males. Moreover, stereotype threat was partially mediated by ‘individuation tendencies’ in that gender-based threats influenced women to disassociate their self from the group to lessen the applicability of the stereotype. The authors suggest that this increased level of self-focused attention under solo status conditions is likely related to increased levels of anxiety.

Evaluation apprehension

Steele and Aronson [ 3 ] also suggested that individuals might apprehend that they will confirm a negative stereotype in the eyes of out-group members. Despite this, Mayer and Hanges [ 72 ] found that evaluation apprehension did not mediate the effects of a self-as-target stereotype threat on African American’s cognitive ability. Additional studies also indicate that evaluation apprehension does not mediate the effects of group-as-target stereotype threat on women’s mathematical performance [ 11 , 79 ].

Performance expectations

Under stereotype threat, individuals may evaluate the subjective likelihood of success depending on their personal resources. As these personal resources are typically anchored to group-level expectations, in-group threatening information (i.e., women are poor at math) may reduce personal expectancies to achieve and diminish performance [ 80 ]. Testing this prediction, Cadinu et al. (Experiment 1 [ 80 ]) found that women solved fewer math problems when they were primed with a negative group-based stereotype relative to those who received a positive or no stereotype. Furthermore, performance expectancies partially mediated the effect of group-as-target threat on math performance, revealing that negative information was associated with lower expectancies. A second experiment indicated further that performance expectancies partially mediated the effects of group-as-target threat on Black participants’ verbal ability. Research by Rosenthal, Crisp and Mein-Woei (Experiment 2 [ 81 ]) also found that performance expectancies partially mediated the effects of self-based stereotypes on women’s mathematical performance. However, rather than decreasing performance expectancies, women under stereotype threat reported higher predictions for performance relative to a control condition.

Research has extended this work to examine the role of performance expectancies in diverse stigmatized populations. For example, Hess et al. [ 32 ] found evidence of moderated-mediation for the effects of a group-as-target stereotype threat on older adults’ memory recall. Here, the degree to which performance expectancies mediated stereotype threat effects was moderated by participants’ education. That is, elderly individuals with higher levels of education showed greater susceptibility to stereotype threat. These findings add weight to the assertion that lowered performance expectations may account for the effects of stereotype threat on performance, especially among individuals who identify strongly with the ability domain. Conversely, Appel et al. [ 43 ] found that performance expectancies do not mediate the effects of group-based stereotype threat among highly identified women in the domains of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Further research suggests that stereotype threat can be activated through subtle cues in the environment rather than explicit stereotype activation [ 58 , 82 ]. It is therefore plausible that expectancies regarding performance may be further undermined when stigmatized in-group members are required to perform a stereotype-relevant task in front of out-group members. Advancing this suggestion, Sekaquaptewa and Thompson [ 82 ] examined the interactive effects of solo status and stereotype threat on women’s mathematical performance. Results revealed that women underperformed when they completed a quantitative examination in the presence of men (solo status) and under stereotype threat. However, whilst performance expectancies partially mediated the relationship between group composition and mathematical ability, they did not mediate the effects of stereotype threat on performance.

Explicit stereotype endorsement

Research has examined whether targeted individuals’ personal endorsement of negative stereotypes is associated with underperformance. For example, Leyens and colleagues [ 83 ] found that men underperformed on an affective task when they were told that they were not as apt as women in processing affective information. Against predictions, however, stereotype endorsement was not found to be a significant intermediary between stereotype threat and performance. Other studies also indicate that stereotype endorsement is not an underlying mechanism of the effects of self-as-target [ 3 ] and group-as-target stereotype threat on women’s mathematical aptitude [ 11 , 84 ].


Research suggests that self-efficacy can have a significant impact on an individual’s motivation and performance [ 85 , 86 , 87 ], and may be influenced by environmental cues [ 88 ]. Accordingly, it has been proposed that the situational salience of a negative stereotype may reduce an individual’s self-efficacy. As mentioned, Chung et al. [ 73 ] found that state anxiety and specific self-efficacy accounted for deficits in African American’s performance on a job promotion exam. However, additional studies indicate that self-efficacy does not mediate the effects of self-as-target threat on African American’s cognitive ability [ 72 ] and group-as-target threat on women’s mathematical performance [ 11 ].

Cognitive Mechanisms

Much research has proposed that affective and subjective variables underpin the harmful effects that stereotype threat exerts on performance [ 89 ]. However, other research posits that stereotype threat may influence performance detriments through its demands on cognitive processes [ 2 , 89 , 90 ]. Specifically, researchers have examined whether stereotype threat is mediated by; working memory, cognitive load, thought suppression, mind-wandering, negative thinking, cognitive appraisals and implicit stereotype endorsement.

Working memory

Schmader and Johns [ 89 ] proposed that performance-evaluative situations might reduce working memory capacity as stereotype-related thoughts consume cognitive resources. In three studies, they examined whether working memory accounted for the influence of a group-as-target threat on women’s and Latino American’s mathematical ability. Findings indicated that both female and Latino American participants solved fewer mathematical problems compared to participants in a non-threat control condition. Furthermore, reduced working memory capacity, measured via an operation span task [ 91 ], mediated the deleterious effects of stereotype threat on math performance. Supporting this, Rydell et al. (Experiment 3 [ 92 ]) found that working memory mediated the effects of a group-relevant stereotype on women’s mathematical performance when they perceived their performance to be evaluated in line with their gender identity. Here results also showed that these performance decrements were eliminated when women were concurrently primed with a positive and negative social identity (Experiment 2).

Further research has also examined how stereotype threat may simultaneously operate through cognitive and emotional processes. Across four experiments, Johns et al. [ 90 ] found that stereotype threat was accountable for deficits in women’s verbal, intellectual and mathematical ability. Moreover, emotion regulation − characterized as response-focused coping − mediated the effects of group-as-target stereotype threat on performance by depleting executive resources.

Nonetheless, executive functioning is made up of more cognitive processes than the construct of working memory [ 93 ]. Acknowledging this, Rydell et al. [ 93 ] predicted that updating (i.e., the ability to maintain and update information in the face of interference) would mediate stereotype threat effects. They further hypothesized that inhibition (i.e., the ability to inhibit a dominant response) and shifting (i.e., people’s ability to switch between tasks) should not underpin this effect. Results indicated that women who experienced an explicit group-as-target threat displayed reduced mathematical performance compared to a control condition. Consistent with predictions, only updating mediated the stereotype threat-performance relationship. These results suggest that the verbal ruminations associated with a negative stereotype may interfere with women’s ability to maintain and update the calculations needed to solve difficult math problems.

The extent to which updating accounts for stereotype threat effects in diverse populations, however, is less straightforward. For example, Hess et al. [ 32 ] found that working memory, measured by a computational span task, did not predict the relationship between group-based stereotype threat and older participants’ memory performance.

Cognitive load

There is ample evidence to suggest that stereotype threat depletes performance by placing higher demands on mental resources [ 89 , 93 ]. These demands may exert additional peripheral activity (i.e., emotional regulation) that can further interfere with task performance [ 90 ]. In order to provide additional support for this notion, Croizet et al. [ 94 ] examined whether increased mental load, measured by participants’ heart rate, mediated the effects of stereotype threat on Psychology majors’ cognitive ability. Here, Psychology majors were primed that they had lower intelligence compared to Science majors. Results indicated that this group-as-target stereotype threat undermined Psychology majors’ cognitive ability by triggering a psychophysiological mental load. Moreover, this increased mental load mediated the effects of stereotype threat on cognitive performance.

Thought suppression

Research suggests that individuals who experience stereotype threat may be aware that their performance will be evaluated in terms of a negative stereotype and, resultantly, engage in efforts to disprove it [ 3 , 94 , 95 ]. This combination of awareness and avoidance may lead to attempts to suppress negative thoughts that consequently tax the cognitive resources needed to perform effectively. In four experiments, Logel et al. (Experiment 2 [ 95 ]) examined whether stereotype threat influences stereotypical thought suppression by counterbalancing whether participants completed a stereotype-relevant lexical decision task before or after a mathematical test. Results indicated that women underperformed on the test in comparison to men. Interestingly, women tended to suppress stereotypical words when the lexical decision task was administered before the math test, but showed post-suppression rebound of stereotype-relevant words when this task was completed afterwards. Mediational analyses revealed that only pre-test thought suppression partially mediated the effects of stereotype threat on performance.


Previous research suggests that the anticipation of a stereotype-laden test may produce a greater proportion of task-related thoughts and worries [ 93 , 95 ]. Less research has examined the role of thoughts unrelated to the task in hand as a potential mediator of stereotype threat effects. Directly testing this notion, Mrazek et al. (Experiment 2 [ 74 ]) found that a group-as-target stereotype threat hampered women’s mathematical performance in comparison to a control condition. Furthermore, although self-report measures of mind-wandering resulted in null findings, indirect measures revealed that women under stereotype threat showed a marked decrease in attention. Mediation analyses indicated further that stereotype threat heightened anxiety which, in turn, increased mind-wandering and contributed to the observed impairments in math performance. Despite these findings, other studies have found no indication that task irrelevant thoughts mediate the effects of group-as-target stereotype threat on women’s mathematical performance [ 24 ] and African American participants’ cognitive ability [ 72 ].

Negative thinking

Schmader and Johns’ [ 89 ] research suggests that the performance deficits observed under stereotype threat may be influenced by intrusive thoughts. Further research [ 74 ] has included post-experimental measures of cognitive interference to assess the activation of distracting thoughts under stereotype threat. However, the content of these measures are predetermined by the experimenter and do not allow participants to report spontaneously on their experiences under stereotype threat. Overcoming these issues, Cadinu and colleagues [ 96 ] asked women to list their current thoughts whilst taking a difficult math test under conditions of stereotype threat. Results revealed that female participants underperformed when they perceived a mathematical test to be diagnostic of gender differences. Moreover, participants in the stereotype threat condition listed more negative thoughts relative to those in the control condition, with intrusive thoughts mediating the relationship between stereotype threat and poor math performance. It seems therefore that negative performance-related thoughts may consume working memory resources to impede performance.

Cognitive appraisal

Other research suggests that individuals may engage in coping strategies to offset the performance implications of a negative stereotype. One indicator of coping is cognitive appraisal, whereby individuals evaluate the significance of a situation as well as their ability to control it [ 97 ]. Here, individuals may exert more effort on a task when the situational presents as a challenge, but may disengage from the task if they evaluate the situation as a threat [ 98 , 99 ]. Taking this into consideration, Berjot, Roland-Levy and Girault-Lidvan [ 100 ] proposed that targeted members might be more likely to perceive a negative stereotype as a threat to their group identity rather than as a challenge to disprove it. They found that North African secondary school students underperformed on a visuospatial task when they perceived French students to possess superior perceptual-motor skills. Contrary to predictions, threat appraisal did not mediate the relation between stereotype threat and performance. Rather, perceiving the situation as a challenge significantly mediated the stereotype threat-performance relationship. Specifically, participants who appraised stereotype threat as a challenge performed better than those who did not. These results therefore suggest that individuals may strive to confront, rather than avoid, intellectual challenges and modify the stereotype held by members of a relevant out-group in a favorable direction [ 101 ].

Implicit stereotype endorsement

Situational cues that present as a threat may increase the activation of automatic associations between a stereotyped concept (i.e., female), negative attributes (i.e., bad), and the performance domain (i.e., math; [ 102 ]). Implicit measures may be able to detect recently formed automatic associations between concepts and stereotypical attributes that are not yet available to explicitly self-report [ 103 ]. In a study of 240 six-year old children, Galdi et al. [ 103 ] examined whether implicit stereotype threat endorsement accounted for the effects of stereotype threat on girls’ mathematical performance. Consistent with the notion that automatic associations can precede conscious beliefs, results indicated that girls acquire implicit math-gender stereotypes before they emerge at an explicit level. Specifically, girls showed stereotype-consistent automatic associations between the terms ‘boy-mathematics’ and ‘girl-language’, which mediated stereotype threat effects.

Motivational Mechanisms

Most of the initial work on the underlying mechanisms of stereotype threat has focused on affective and cognitive processes. More recently, research has begun to examine whether individuals may be motivated to disconfirm a negative stereotype, with this having a paradoxical effect of harming performance [ 104 , 105 , 106 ]. To this end, research has elucidated the potential role of effort, self-handicapping, dejection, vigilance, and achievement goals.


Underpinned by the “mere effort model” [ 104 ], Jamieson and Harkins [ 105 ] examined whether motivation plays a proximal role in the effect of stereotype threat on women’s math performance. Here they predicted that stereotype threat would lead participants to use a conventional problem solving approach (i.e., use known equations to compute an answer), which would facilitate performance on ‘solve’ problems, but hamper performance on ‘comparison’ problems. Results supported this hypothesis, indicating that stereotype threat debilitated performance on comparison problems as participants employed the dominant, but incorrect, solution approach. Furthermore, this incorrect solving approach mediated the effect of stereotype threat on comparison problem performance. This suggests that stereotype threat motivates participants to perform well, which increases activation of a dominant response to the task. However, as this dominant approach does not always guarantee success, the work indicates that different problem solving strategies may determine whether a person underperforms on a given task [ 105 , 107 ].

Stereotype threat may have differential effects on effort dependent on the prime utilized [ 27 ]. For example, Skorich et al. [ 27 ] examined whether effort mediated the effects of implicit and explicit stereotypes on provisional drivers’ performance on a hazard perception test. Participants in the implicit prime condition ticked their driving status (provisional, licensed) on a questionnaire, whereas participants in the explicit prime condition were provided with stereotypes relating to the driving ability of provisional licensees. Results revealed that participants detected more hazards when they were primed with an explicit stereotype relative to an implicit stereotype. Mediational analyses showed that whilst increased effort mediated the effects of an implicit stereotype on performance, decreased effort mediated the effects of an explicit stereotype prime. Research also indicates that reduced effort mediates the effects of an explicit stereotype on older adults’ memory recall [ 18 ]. Taken together, these results suggest that implicit stereotype primes may lead to increased effort as participants aim to disprove the stereotype, whereas explicit stereotype threat primes may lead to decreased effort as participants self-handicap [ 27 ]. Nevertheless, other studies utilizing self-reported measures of effort have resulted in non-significant findings (Experiment 1 & 2 [ 14 ]; Experiment 4 [ 44 ]; Experiment 2 [ 77 ]; Experiment 2, 4 & 5, [ 108 ]).


Individuals may engage in self-handicapping strategies to proactively reduce the applicability of a negative stereotype to their performance. Here, people attempt to influence attributions for performance by erecting barriers to their success. Investigating this notion, Stone [ 15 ] examined whether self-handicapping mediated the effects of stereotype threat on white athletes’ sporting performance. Self-handicapping was measured by the total amount of stereotype-relevant words completed on a word-fragment task. Results indicated that white athletes practiced less when they perceived their ability on a golf-putting task to be diagnostic of personal ability, thereby confirming a negative stereotype relating to ‘poor white athleticism’. Moreover, these athletes were more likely to complete the term ‘awkward’ on a word fragment completion test compared to the control condition. Mediation analyses revealed that the greater accessibility of the term ‘awkward’ partially mediated the effects of stereotype threat on psychological disengagement and performance. The authors suggest that stereotype threat increased the accessibility of thoughts related to poor athleticism to inhibit athletes' practice efforts. However, a limitation of this research is that analyses were based on single-item measures (i.e., the completion of the word ‘awkward’) rather than total of completed words on the word-fragment test.

Keller [ 109 ] also tested the hypothesis that the salience of a negative stereotype is related to self-handicapping tendencies. Results showed that women who were primed with a group-as-target stereotype underperformed on a mathematical test relative to their control group counterparts. Furthermore, they expressed stronger tendencies to search for external explanations for their weak performance with this mediating the effects of stereotype threat on performance. Despite these preliminary findings, Keller and Dauenheimer [ 44 ] were unable to provide support for the notion that self-reported self-handicapping is a significant intermediary between stereotype threat and women’s mathematical underperformance.

Research on performance expectations suggests that stereotype threat effects may be mediated by goals set by the participants. Extending this work, Keller and Dauenheimer [ 44 ] hypothesized that female participants may make more errors on a mathematical test due to an overly motivated approach strategy. Results indicated that women underperformed when a math test was framed as diagnostic of gender differences (a group-as-target threat). Furthermore, their experiences of dejection were found to mediate the relation between stereotype threat and performance. The authors suggest that individuals may be motivated to disconfirm the negative stereotype and thus engage in a promotion focus of self-regulation. However, feelings of failure may elicit an emotional response that resultantly determines underperformance.

In contrast to Keller and Dauenheimer [ 44 ], Seibt and Förster (Experiment 5; [ 108 ]) proposed that under stereotype threat, targeted individuals engage in avoidance and vigilance strategies. They predicted that positive stereotypes should induce a promotion focus, leading to explorative and creative processing, whereas negative stereotypes should induce a prevention focus state of vigilance, with participants avoiding errors. Across five experiments, male and female participants were primed with a group-as-target stereotype suggesting that women have better verbal abilities than men. However, rather than showing a stereotype threat effect, results indicated a speed-accuracy trade off with male participants completing an analytical task slower but more accurately than their counterparts in a non-threat control condition. Furthermore, this prevention focus of vigilance was found to partially mediate the effects of stereotype threat on men’s analytical abilities (Experiment 5). The authors conclude that the salience of a negative group stereotype elicits a vigilant, risk-averse processing style that diminishes creativity and speed while bolstering analytic thinking and accuracy.

Achievement goals

Achievement goals theory [ 110 ] posits that participants will evaluate their role in a particular achievement context and endorse either performance-focused or performance-avoidance goals. In situations where the chances of success are low, individuals engage in performance-avoidance goals, corresponding to a desire to avoid confirming a negative stereotype. Accordingly, Chalabaev et al. [ 111 ] examined whether performance avoidance goals mediated the effects of stereotype threat on women’s sporting performance. Here, the impact of two self-as-target stereotypes (i.e., poor athletic and soccer ability) on performance were assessed relative to a control condition. Results indicated that women in the athletic ability condition performed more poorly on a dribbling task, but not in the soccer ability condition. Furthermore, although these participants endorsed a performance-avoidance goal, this did not mediate the relationship between stereotype threat and soccer performance.

Highlighting the possible interplay between affective, cognitive and motivation mechanisms, Brodish and Devine [ 112 ] proffered a multi-mediator model, proposing that anxiety and performance-avoidance goals may mediate the effects of group-as-target stereotype threat on women’s mathematical performance. Achievement goals were measured by whether participants endorsed performance-avoidant (the desire to avoid performing poorly) or approach goals (trying to outperform others). Results indicated that women under stereotype threat solved fewer mathematical problems relative to those in a control condition. Mediation analyses revealed that performance avoidance goals and anxiety sequentially mediated women’s mathematical performance. That is, stereotype threatened women were motivated to avoid failure, which in turn heightened anxiety and influenced underperformance. Table 2 summarizes the articles reviewed and details their key findings and respective methodologies. See S2 Table for overview of significant mediational findings.

The current review evaluated empirical support for the mediators of stereotype threat. Capitalizing on the multi-threat framework [ 31 ], we distinguished between self-relevant and group-relevant stereotype threats to examine the extent to which these are mediated by qualitatively distinct mechanisms and imperil diverse stigmatized populations. On the whole, the results of the current review indicate that experiences of stereotype threat may increase individuals’ feelings of anxiety, negative thinking and mind-wandering which deplete the working memory resources required for successful task execution. Research documents further that individuals may be motivated to disconfirm the negative stereotype and engage in efforts to suppress stereotypical thoughts that are inconsistent with task goals. However, many of the mediators tested have resulted in varying degrees of empirical support. Below we suggest that stereotype threat may operate in distinct ways dependent on the population under study, the primes utilized, and the instruments used to measure mediation and performance.

Previous research has largely conceptualized stereotype threat as a singular construct, experienced similarly by individuals and groups across situations [ 31 , 55 ]. Consequently, research has overlooked the possibility of multiple forms of stereotype threats that may be implicated through concerns to an individual’s personal or social identity [ 31 ]. This is highlighted in the present review, as the majority of stereotype threat studies employed a group-as-target prime. Here stereotype threat is typically instantiated to highlight that stereotype-consistent performance may confirm, or reinforce, a negative societal stereotype as being a true representation of one’s social group [ 48 ]. This has led to a relative neglect of situations in which individuals may anticipate that their performance may be indicative of personal ability [ 31 , 55 ].

Similar processes such as arousal, deficits in working memory, and motivation may be triggered by self-as-target and group-as-target stereotype threats. However, it is important to note that the experiences of these stereotype threats may be fundamentally distinct [ 31 ]. That is, deficits in working memory under self-as-target stereotype threat may be evoked by negative thoughts relating to the self (i.e., ruining one’s opportunities, letting oneself down). Conversely, group-based intrusive thoughts may mediate the effects of group-as-target threat on performance as individuals view their performance in line with their social group (i.e., confirming a societal stereotype, letting the group down) [ 31 ]. Moreover, research suggests that when a group-based stereotype threat is primed, individuals dissociate their sense of self from the negatively stereotyped domain [ 78 ]. Yet, this may be more unlikely when an individual experiences self-as-target stereotype threat as their personal ability is explicitly tied to a negative stereotype that governs their ingroup. As such, the activation of a group-based stereotype may set in motion mechanisms that reflect a protective orientation of self-regulation, whereas self-relevant knowledge may heighten self-consciousness. To date, however, research has not explicitly distinguished between self-as-target and group-as-target stereotype threat in the elucidation of mediating variables. Future research would therefore benefit from a systematic investigation of how different stereotype threats may hamper performance in qualitatively distinguishable ways. One way to investigate the hypotheses set out here would be to allow participants to spontaneously report their experiences under self-as-target and group-as-target stereotype threat, and to examine differences in the content of participants’ thoughts as a function of these different primes.

In a similar vein, different mechanisms may mediate the effects of blatant and subtle stereotype threat effects on performance [ 27 , 58 , 111 ]. Blatant threat manipulations explicitly inform participants of a negative stereotype related to performance (e.g., [ 3 , 11 ]), whereas placing stigmatized group members in a situation in which they have minority status may evoke more subtle stereotype threat [ 78 , 82 ]. Providing evidence consistent with this notion, Sekaquaptewa and Thompson [ 82 ] found that performance expectancies partially mediated the effects of solo status, but not stereotype threat on performance. These results suggest that women may make comparative judgments about their expected performance when they are required to undertake an exam in the presence of out-group members, yet may not consciously recognize how a negative stereotype can directly impair performance. Further research suggests that working memory may mediate the effects of subtle stereotype threat cues on performance as individuals attend to situational cues that heighten the salience of a discredited identity [ 88 , 94 ]. Alternatively, motivation may mediate the effects of blatant stereotype threat as individuals strive to disprove the negative stereotype [ 27 , 44 , 58 , 108 ]. Although stereotype threat effects appear to be robust [ 30 ], it is plausible that these distinct manipulations diverge in the nature, the focus, and the intensity of threat they produce and may therefore be mediated by different mechanisms [ 31 ].

It is also conceivable that different groups are more susceptible to certain types of stereotype threat [ 13 , 31 , 56 ]. For example, research indicates that women’s performance on a social cognition task was influenced to a greater extent by implicit gender-related stereotypes, whereas men were more vulnerable to explicit stereotype threat [ 13 ]. Further research suggests that populations who tend to have low group identification (e.g., those with a mental illness or obesity) are more susceptible to self-as-target threats. Conversely, populations with high group identification, such as individuals of a certain ethnicity, gender or religion are more likely to experience group-as-target threats [ 56 ]. Whilst this highlights the role of moderating variables that heighten individuals’ susceptibility to stereotype threat, it also suggests that individuals may experience stereotype threat in different ways, dependent on their stigmatized identity. This may explain why some variables (e.g., anxiety, self-handicapping) that have been found to mediate the effects of stereotype threat on some groups have not emerged in other populations.

Finally, it is conceivable that diverse mediators account for the effects of stereotype threat on different performance outcomes. For example, although working memory is implicated in tasks that typically require controlled processing, it is not required for tasks that rely more on automatic processes [ 24 , 58 , 93 ]. In line with this notion, Beilock et al. [ 24 ] found that experts’ golf putting skills were harmed under stereotype threat when attention was allocated to automatic processes that operate usually outside of working memory. This suggests that well-learned skills may be hampered by attempts to bring performance back under step-by-step control. Conversely, skills such as difficult math problem solving appear to involve heavy processing demands and may be harmed when working memory is consumed by a negative stereotype. As such, distinct mechanisms may underpin different threat-related performance outcomes.

Limitations of Stereotype Threat Research

We now outline methodological issues in current stereotype threat literature with a view to inform the design of future research. First, researchers have predominantly utilized self-report measures in their efforts to uncover the mediating variables of stereotype threat. However, it has long been argued that individuals have limited access to higher order mental processes [ 113 , 114 ], such as those involved in the evaluation and initiation of behavior [ 115 , 116 ]. Resultantly, participants under stereotype threat may be unable to observe and explicitly report the operations of their own mind [ 29 , 114 , 117 , 118 , 119 ]. Consistent with this assertion, Bosson et al. [ 29 ] found that although stereotype threat heightened individuals’ physiological anxiety, the same individuals did not report an awareness of increased anxiety on self-report measures. Participants may thus be mindful of the impression they make on others and engage in self-presentational behaviors in an effort to appear invulnerable to negative stereotypes [ 29 ]. This is supported by research suggesting that stereotype threatened participants tend not to explicitly endorse stereotypes [ 29 , 37 , 83 , 84 ] and are more likely to claim impediments to justify poor performance [ 3 , 14 , 109 ]. Moreover, it is possible that stereotype threat processes are non-conscious [ 119 ] with research indicating that implicit–but not explicit–stereotype endorsement mediates stereotype threat effects [ 103 ]. This suggests that non-conscious processing of stereotype-relevant information may influence the decrements observed in individuals’ performance under stereotype threat. Furthermore, this research underscores the greater sensitivity of indirect measures for examining the mediators of stereotype threat. From this perspective, future research may benefit from the use of physiological measures, such as heart rate, cortisol and skin conductance to examine anxiety (c.f., [ 94 , 120 , 121 ]), the IAT to measure implicit stereotype endorsement [ 103 ] and the sustained response to attention task to measure mind-wandering [ 74 ].

In the investigation of stereotype threat, self-report measures may be particularly susceptible to order effects. For example, Brodish and Devine [ 112 ] found that women reported higher levels of anxiety when they completed a questionnaire before a mathematical test compared to afterwards. This suggests that pre-test anxiety ratings may have reflected participants’ uneasiness towards the upcoming evaluative test, with this apprehension diminishing once the test was completed. Research by Logel and colleagues [ 95 ] provides support for this notion, indicating that women who completed a lexical decision task after a math test were quicker to respond to stereotype-relevant words compared to women who subsequently completed the task. These results exhibit the variability in individuals’ emotions under stereotype threat and suggest that they may be unable to retrospectively report on their feelings once the threat has passed. This emphasizes the importance of counterbalancing test instruments in the investigation of stereotype threat, purporting that the order in which test materials are administered may influence mediational findings.

This review highlights that, in some studies, individuals assigned to a control condition may have also experienced stereotype threat, thus potentially preventing reliable evidence of mediation. For instance, Chalabaev et al. [ 111 ] primed stereotype threat by presenting a soccer ability test as a diagnostic indicator of personal factors related to athletic ability. Nevertheless, participants in the control condition received information that the aim of the test was to examine psychological factors in athletic ability. Consequently, these participants may have also been apprehensive about their performance being evaluated, and this may have precluded evidence that achievement goals mediate the stereotype threat-performance relationship. Furthermore, research has manipulated the salience of stereotype threat by stating that gender differences in math performance are equal [ 82 ]. However, other research has utilized this prime within control conditions (e.g., [ 94 , 105 , 119 ]), underpinned by the rationale that describing a test as ‘fair’ or non-diagnostic of ability eliminates stereotype threat [ 122 ]. It is therefore possible that, in some instances, researchers have inadvertently induced stereotype threat. This outlines the importance of employing a control condition in which individuals are not made aware of any negative stereotypes, and are told that the test is non-diagnostic of ability, in order to detect possible mediators.

Two decades of research have demonstrated the harmful effects that stereotype threat can exert on a wide range of populations in a broad array of performance domains. However, findings with regards to the mediators that underpin these effects are equivocal. This may be a consequence of the heterogeneity of primes used to instantiate stereotype threat and the methods used to measure mediation and performance. To this end, future work is likely to benefit from the following directions: First, account for the existence of multiple stereotype threats; Second, recognize that the experiences of stereotype threat may differ between stigmatized groups, and that no one mediator may provide generalized empirical support across diverse populations; Third, utilize indirect measures, in addition to self-report measures, to examine reliably mediating variables and to examine further the convergence of these two methods; Fourth, counterbalance test instruments to control for order effects; and finally, ensure that participants in a control condition do not inadvertently encounter stereotype threat by stating explicitly that the task is non-diagnostic of ability.

Supporting Information

S1 supporting information, funding statement.

The authors acknowledge support toward open access publishing by the Graduate School and the Department of Psychology at Edge Hill University. The funders had no role in the systematic review, data collection or analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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100 Gender Research Topics For Academic Papers

gender research topics

Gender research topics are very popular across the world. Students in different academic disciplines are often asked to write papers and essays about these topics. Some of the disciplines that require learners to write about gender topics include:

Sociology Psychology Gender studies Business studies

When pursuing higher education in these disciplines, learners can choose what to write about from a wide range of gender issues topics. However, the wide range of issues that learners can research and write about when it comes to gender makes choosing what to write about difficult. Here is a list of the top 100 gender and sexuality topics that students can consider.

Controversial Gender Research Topics

Do you like the idea of writing about something controversial? If yes, this category has some of the best gender topics to write about. They touch on issues like gender stereotypes and issues that are generally associated with members of a specific gender. Here are some of the best controversial gender topics that you can write about.

  • How human behavior is affected by gender misconceptions
  • How are straight marriages influenced by gay marriages
  • Explain the most common sex-role stereotypes
  • What are the effects of workplace stereotypes?
  • What issues affect modern feminism?
  • How sexuality affects sex-role stereotyping
  • How does the media break sex-role stereotypes
  • Explain the dual approach to equality between women and men
  • What are the most outdated sex-role stereotypes
  • Are men better than women?
  • How equal are men and women?
  • How do politics and sexuality relate?
  • How can films defy gender-based stereotypes
  • What are the advantages of being a woman?
  • What are the disadvantages of being a woman?
  • What are the advantages of being a man?
  • Discuss the disadvantages of being a woman
  • Should governments legalize prostitution?
  • Explain how sexual orientation came about?
  • Women communicate better than men
  • Women are the stronger sex
  • Explain how the world can be made better for women
  • Discuss the future gender norms
  • How important are sex roles in society
  • Discuss the transgender and feminism theory
  • How does feminism help in the creation of alternative women’s culture?
  • Gender stereotypes in education and science
  • Discuss racial variations when it comes to gender-related attitudes
  • Women are better leaders
  • Men can’t survive without women

This category also has some of the best gender debate topics. However, learners should be keen to pick topics they are interested in. This will enable them to ensure that they enjoy the research and writing process.

Interesting Gender Inequality Topics

Gender-based inequality is witnessed almost every day. As such, most learners are conversant with gender inequality research paper topics. However, it’s crucial to pick topics that are devoid of discrimination of members of a specific gender. Here are examples of gender inequality essay topics.

  • Sex discrimination aspects in schools
  • How to identify inequality between sexes
  • Sex discrimination causes
  • The inferior role played by women in relationships
  • Discuss sex differences in the education system
  • How can gender discrimination be identified in sports?
  • Can inequality issues between men and women be solved through education?
  • Why are professional opportunities for women in sports limited?
  • Why are there fewer women in leadership positions?
  • Discuss gender inequality when it comes to work-family balance
  • How does gender-based discrimination affect early childhood development?
  • Can sex discrimination be reduced by technology?
  • How can sex discrimination be identified in a marriage?
  • Explain where sex discrimination originates from
  • Discuss segregation and motherhood in labor markets
  • Explain classroom sex discrimination
  • How can inequality in American history be justified?
  • Discuss different types of sex discrimination in modern society
  • Discuss various factors that cause gender-based inequality
  • Discuss inequality in human resource practices and processes
  • Why is inequality between women and men so rampant in developing countries?
  • How can governments bridge gender gaps between women and men?
  • Work-home conflict is a sign of inequality between women and men
  • Explain why women are less wealthy than men
  • How can workplace gender-based inequality be addressed?

After choosing the gender inequality essay topics they like, students should research, brainstorm ideas, and come up with an outline before they start writing. This will ensure that their essays have engaging introductions and convincing bodies, as well as, strong conclusions.

Amazing Gender Roles Topics for Academic Papers and Essays

This category has ideas that slightly differ from gender equality topics. That’s because equality or lack of it can be measured by considering the representation of both genders in different roles. As such, some gender roles essay topics might not require tiresome and extensive research to write about. Nevertheless, learners should take time to gather the necessary information required to write about these topics. Here are some of the best gender topics for discussion when it comes to the roles played by men and women in society.

  • Describe gender identity
  • Describe how a women-dominated society would be
  • Compare gender development theories
  • How equally important are maternity and paternity levees for babies?
  • How can gender-parity be achieved when it comes to parenting?
  • Discuss the issues faced by modern feminism
  • How do men differ from women emotionally?
  • Discuss gender identity and sexual orientation
  • Is investing in the education of girls beneficial?
  • Explain the adoption of gender-role stereotyped behaviors
  • Discuss games and toys for boys and girls
  • Describe patriarchal attitudes in families
  • Explain patriarchal stereotypes in family relationships
  • What roles do women and men play in politics?
  • Discuss sex equity and academic careers
  • Compare military career opportunities for both genders
  • Discuss the perception of women in the military
  • Describe feminine traits
  • Discus gender-related issues faced by women in gaming
  • Men should play major roles in the welfare of their children
  • Explain how the aging population affects the economic welfare of women?
  • What has historically determined modern differences in gender roles?
  • Does society need stereotyped gender roles?
  • Does nature have a role to play in stereotyped gender roles?
  • The development and adoption of gender roles

The list of gender essay topics that are based on the roles of each sex can be quite extensive. Nevertheless, students should be keen to pick interesting gender topics in this category.

Important Gender Issues Topics for Research Paper

If you want to write a paper or essay on an important gender issue, this category has the best ideas for you. Students can write about different issues that affect individuals of different genders. For instance, this category can include gender wage gap essay topics. Wage variation is a common issue that affects women in different countries. Some of the best gender research paper topics in this category include:

  • Discuss gender mainstreaming purpose
  • Discuss the issue of gender-based violence
  • Why is the wage gap so common in most countries?
  • How can society promote equality in opportunities for women and men in sports?
  • Explain what it means to be transgender
  • Discuss the best practices of gender-neutral management
  • What is women’s empowerment?
  • Discuss how human trafficking affects women
  • How problematic is gender-blindness for women?
  • What does the glass ceiling mean in management?
  • Why are women at a higher risk of sexual exploitation and violence?
  • Why is STEM uptake low among women?
  • How does ideology affect the determination of relations between genders
  • How are sporting women fighting for equality?
  • Discuss sports, women, and media institutions
  • How can cities be made safer for girls and women?
  • Discuss international trends in the empowerment of women
  • How do women contribute to the world economy?
  • Explain how feminism on different social relations unites men and women as groups
  • Explain how gender diversity influence scientific discovery and innovation

This category has some of the most interesting women’s and gender studies paper topics. However, most of them require extensive research to come up with hard facts and figures that will make academic papers or essays more interesting.

Students in high schools and colleges can pick what to write about from a wide range of gender studies research topics. However, some gender studies topics might not be ideal for some learners based on the given essay prompt. Therefore, make sure that you have understood what the educator wants you to write about before you pick a topic. Our experts can help you choose a good thesis topic . Choosing the right gender studies topics enables learners to answer the asked questions properly. This impresses educators to award them top grades.

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One of the hardest parts of writing a research paper can be just finding a good topic to write about. Fortunately we've done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of 113 interesting research paper topics. They've been organized into ten categories and cover a wide range of subjects so you can easily find the best topic for you.

In addition to the list of good research topics, we've included advice on what makes a good research paper topic and how you can use your topic to start writing a great paper.

What Makes a Good Research Paper Topic?

Not all research paper topics are created equal, and you want to make sure you choose a great topic before you start writing. Below are the three most important factors to consider to make sure you choose the best research paper topics.

#1: It's Something You're Interested In

A paper is always easier to write if you're interested in the topic, and you'll be more motivated to do in-depth research and write a paper that really covers the entire subject. Even if a certain research paper topic is getting a lot of buzz right now or other people seem interested in writing about it, don't feel tempted to make it your topic unless you genuinely have some sort of interest in it as well.

#2: There's Enough Information to Write a Paper

Even if you come up with the absolute best research paper topic and you're so excited to write about it, you won't be able to produce a good paper if there isn't enough research about the topic. This can happen for very specific or specialized topics, as well as topics that are too new to have enough research done on them at the moment. Easy research paper topics will always be topics with enough information to write a full-length paper.

Trying to write a research paper on a topic that doesn't have much research on it is incredibly hard, so before you decide on a topic, do a bit of preliminary searching and make sure you'll have all the information you need to write your paper.

#3: It Fits Your Teacher's Guidelines

Don't get so carried away looking at lists of research paper topics that you forget any requirements or restrictions your teacher may have put on research topic ideas. If you're writing a research paper on a health-related topic, deciding to write about the impact of rap on the music scene probably won't be allowed, but there may be some sort of leeway. For example, if you're really interested in current events but your teacher wants you to write a research paper on a history topic, you may be able to choose a topic that fits both categories, like exploring the relationship between the US and North Korea. No matter what, always get your research paper topic approved by your teacher first before you begin writing.

113 Good Research Paper Topics

Below are 113 good research topics to help you get you started on your paper. We've organized them into ten categories to make it easier to find the type of research paper topics you're looking for.


  • Discuss the main differences in art from the Italian Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance .
  • Analyze the impact a famous artist had on the world.
  • How is sexism portrayed in different types of media (music, film, video games, etc.)? Has the amount/type of sexism changed over the years?
  • How has the music of slaves brought over from Africa shaped modern American music?
  • How has rap music evolved in the past decade?
  • How has the portrayal of minorities in the media changed?


Current Events

  • What have been the impacts of China's one child policy?
  • How have the goals of feminists changed over the decades?
  • How has the Trump presidency changed international relations?
  • Analyze the history of the relationship between the United States and North Korea.
  • What factors contributed to the current decline in the rate of unemployment?
  • What have been the impacts of states which have increased their minimum wage?
  • How do US immigration laws compare to immigration laws of other countries?
  • How have the US's immigration laws changed in the past few years/decades?
  • How has the Black Lives Matter movement affected discussions and view about racism in the US?
  • What impact has the Affordable Care Act had on healthcare in the US?
  • What factors contributed to the UK deciding to leave the EU (Brexit)?
  • What factors contributed to China becoming an economic power?
  • Discuss the history of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies  (some of which tokenize the S&P 500 Index on the blockchain) .
  • Do students in schools that eliminate grades do better in college and their careers?
  • Do students from wealthier backgrounds score higher on standardized tests?
  • Do students who receive free meals at school get higher grades compared to when they weren't receiving a free meal?
  • Do students who attend charter schools score higher on standardized tests than students in public schools?
  • Do students learn better in same-sex classrooms?
  • How does giving each student access to an iPad or laptop affect their studies?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Montessori Method ?
  • Do children who attend preschool do better in school later on?
  • What was the impact of the No Child Left Behind act?
  • How does the US education system compare to education systems in other countries?
  • What impact does mandatory physical education classes have on students' health?
  • Which methods are most effective at reducing bullying in schools?
  • Do homeschoolers who attend college do as well as students who attended traditional schools?
  • Does offering tenure increase or decrease quality of teaching?
  • How does college debt affect future life choices of students?
  • Should graduate students be able to form unions?


  • What are different ways to lower gun-related deaths in the US?
  • How and why have divorce rates changed over time?
  • Is affirmative action still necessary in education and/or the workplace?
  • Should physician-assisted suicide be legal?
  • How has stem cell research impacted the medical field?
  • How can human trafficking be reduced in the United States/world?
  • Should people be able to donate organs in exchange for money?
  • Which types of juvenile punishment have proven most effective at preventing future crimes?
  • Has the increase in US airport security made passengers safer?
  • Analyze the immigration policies of certain countries and how they are similar and different from one another.
  • Several states have legalized recreational marijuana. What positive and negative impacts have they experienced as a result?
  • Do tariffs increase the number of domestic jobs?
  • Which prison reforms have proven most effective?
  • Should governments be able to censor certain information on the internet?
  • Which methods/programs have been most effective at reducing teen pregnancy?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Keto diet?
  • How effective are different exercise regimes for losing weight and maintaining weight loss?
  • How do the healthcare plans of various countries differ from each other?
  • What are the most effective ways to treat depression ?
  • What are the pros and cons of genetically modified foods?
  • Which methods are most effective for improving memory?
  • What can be done to lower healthcare costs in the US?
  • What factors contributed to the current opioid crisis?
  • Analyze the history and impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic .
  • Are low-carbohydrate or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
  • How much exercise should the average adult be getting each week?
  • Which methods are most effective to get parents to vaccinate their children?
  • What are the pros and cons of clean needle programs?
  • How does stress affect the body?
  • Discuss the history of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • What were the causes and effects of the Salem Witch Trials?
  • Who was responsible for the Iran-Contra situation?
  • How has New Orleans and the government's response to natural disasters changed since Hurricane Katrina?
  • What events led to the fall of the Roman Empire?
  • What were the impacts of British rule in India ?
  • Was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary?
  • What were the successes and failures of the women's suffrage movement in the United States?
  • What were the causes of the Civil War?
  • How did Abraham Lincoln's assassination impact the country and reconstruction after the Civil War?
  • Which factors contributed to the colonies winning the American Revolution?
  • What caused Hitler's rise to power?
  • Discuss how a specific invention impacted history.
  • What led to Cleopatra's fall as ruler of Egypt?
  • How has Japan changed and evolved over the centuries?
  • What were the causes of the Rwandan genocide ?


  • Why did Martin Luther decide to split with the Catholic Church?
  • Analyze the history and impact of a well-known cult (Jonestown, Manson family, etc.)
  • How did the sexual abuse scandal impact how people view the Catholic Church?
  • How has the Catholic church's power changed over the past decades/centuries?
  • What are the causes behind the rise in atheism/ agnosticism in the United States?
  • What were the influences in Siddhartha's life resulted in him becoming the Buddha?
  • How has media portrayal of Islam/Muslims changed since September 11th?


  • How has the earth's climate changed in the past few decades?
  • How has the use and elimination of DDT affected bird populations in the US?
  • Analyze how the number and severity of natural disasters have increased in the past few decades.
  • Analyze deforestation rates in a certain area or globally over a period of time.
  • How have past oil spills changed regulations and cleanup methods?
  • How has the Flint water crisis changed water regulation safety?
  • What are the pros and cons of fracking?
  • What impact has the Paris Climate Agreement had so far?
  • What have NASA's biggest successes and failures been?
  • How can we improve access to clean water around the world?
  • Does ecotourism actually have a positive impact on the environment?
  • Should the US rely on nuclear energy more?
  • What can be done to save amphibian species currently at risk of extinction?
  • What impact has climate change had on coral reefs?
  • How are black holes created?
  • Are teens who spend more time on social media more likely to suffer anxiety and/or depression?
  • How will the loss of net neutrality affect internet users?
  • Analyze the history and progress of self-driving vehicles.
  • How has the use of drones changed surveillance and warfare methods?
  • Has social media made people more or less connected?
  • What progress has currently been made with artificial intelligence ?
  • Do smartphones increase or decrease workplace productivity?
  • What are the most effective ways to use technology in the classroom?
  • How is Google search affecting our intelligence?
  • When is the best age for a child to begin owning a smartphone?
  • Has frequent texting reduced teen literacy rates?


How to Write a Great Research Paper

Even great research paper topics won't give you a great research paper if you don't hone your topic before and during the writing process. Follow these three tips to turn good research paper topics into great papers.

#1: Figure Out Your Thesis Early

Before you start writing a single word of your paper, you first need to know what your thesis will be. Your thesis is a statement that explains what you intend to prove/show in your paper. Every sentence in your research paper will relate back to your thesis, so you don't want to start writing without it!

As some examples, if you're writing a research paper on if students learn better in same-sex classrooms, your thesis might be "Research has shown that elementary-age students in same-sex classrooms score higher on standardized tests and report feeling more comfortable in the classroom."

If you're writing a paper on the causes of the Civil War, your thesis might be "While the dispute between the North and South over slavery is the most well-known cause of the Civil War, other key causes include differences in the economies of the North and South, states' rights, and territorial expansion."

#2: Back Every Statement Up With Research

Remember, this is a research paper you're writing, so you'll need to use lots of research to make your points. Every statement you give must be backed up with research, properly cited the way your teacher requested. You're allowed to include opinions of your own, but they must also be supported by the research you give.

#3: Do Your Research Before You Begin Writing

You don't want to start writing your research paper and then learn that there isn't enough research to back up the points you're making, or, even worse, that the research contradicts the points you're trying to make!

Get most of your research on your good research topics done before you begin writing. Then use the research you've collected to create a rough outline of what your paper will cover and the key points you're going to make. This will help keep your paper clear and organized, and it'll ensure you have enough research to produce a strong paper.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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Research Paper

Stereotypes research paper.

stereotype research paper topics

This sample Stereotypes Research Paper is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need help writing your assignment, please use our research paper writing service and buy a paper on any topic at affordable price. Also check our tips on how to write a research paper , see the lists of research paper topics , and browse research paper examples .

Stereotypes constitute a person’s set of expectations about a social group’s characteristics, including traits, behaviors, and roles. They are the categorical associations perceivers make to group members based on their membership. Although cognitive in form, stereotypes are interlocked with affect and behavior: Along with prejudice and discrimination, stereotypes make up the tripartite foundation for the breakdown of intergroup relations.

Stereotyping stems from categorization processes that involve the self. Social identity theory contends that people conceptualize the self at different levels of inclusive-ness that range from the subordinate to the superordinate. At each level of abstraction, the corresponding identity (personal, social, or collective self) is salient, with reference to each varying by context. In perceiving the self through a social identity, the person views the self as part of an in-group that is distinctive and, under many circumstances, more subjectively positive than out-groups. Self-categorization theory continues this narrative:

Depersonalization of the self via in-group and out-group differentiation triggers group phenomena that include stereotyping.

Two principles of self-categorization theory structure stereotypes: comparative fit and normative fit. In the former, also known as meta-contrast ratio fit, the smaller the perceived intragroup difference in comparison to inter-group differences, the more the group embodies a coherent unit. Thus, people are categorized into groups that minimize within-group differences and maximize between-group differences. Furthermore, normative fit requires that these differences, both within and between, align with the perceiver’s normative beliefs about the group—that the group fits expectations. An interaction between comparative fit and normative fit processes guides stereotype construction. Under the first principle, within-group variability decreases, increasing perceived homogeneity between group members; under the second, perceived group categories reflect a perceiver’s expectations about that group or the content of normative beliefs.

A two-dimensional framework inherited from person perception literature illustrates the content of stereotypes. Person and group perception use two recurring dimensions that are variations of warmth/morality and ability/competence. One example, the stereotype content model, argues that stereotypes immediately answer two key questions for the perceiver: Do out-group members intend good or ill toward me and my group? and Are they able to act on these intentions? The answers to these questions produce stereotypes in four quadrants: ambivalent (or cross-dimensional) stereotypes (e.g., elderly people are stereotypically nice but incompetent, rich people are stereotypically competent but not nice); stereotypically neither warm nor competent (e.g., poor people); and stereotypically both warm and competent (e.g., middle class).

Utility: Form Fits Function

Because stereotypes stem from the differentiation of “us” from “them,” stereotype targets usually fall outside the cultural default (in the United States): not young, not white, not male, not heterosexual, not middle class, and not Christian. Groups whose members are the least (visibly) representative of the default receive the most stereotypes. The high prevalence of age, racial or ethnic, and gender stereotypes results in part from the speed of categorizing people on these dimensions.

Stereotyped targets are not exclusive to the visibly different. Stereotypes also form when a person perceives an illusory correlation between a group and a particular characteristic; in actuality, group membership and the characteristic might covary by chance or because of historical development, or not even covary at all, but perceiving a fundamental connection strengthens the stereotypic quality of the characteristic for that group. Stereotypes may reflect the perceiver’s knowledge of power relations in society. Some national stereotypes exemplify such contextual influences on stereotype formation, with perceivers relying on features of a nation—political, economic, religious, geographic, and status vis-a-vis one’s own nation, among others—to characterize its residents. Because they are shaped by the social context, stereotypes reflect cultural beliefs. As such, they shift over time—when social conditions change, societies update their stereotypes of groups because the social relations of those groups transform. As an example, many ethnic groups in the early twenty-first-century United States receive more favorable stereotypes than they did in the 1930s, including originally mistrusted immigrants (e.g., Irish, Italian, Jewish) who now join the mainstream.

Whatever their origins, stereotyping serves cognitive, motivational, and social purposes. For example, in the cognitive miser view, stereotyping saves mental effort. Facing cognitively overwhelming tasks and limited attention and effort, people rely on stereotypes to increase available on-line resources. People’s social interaction priorities also influence stereotyping. Many models of stereotyping posit two modes of impression formation, with some models arguing for an either-or competition between the two, and others placing them on the ends of a continuum. In either case, one mode emphasizes the need to make quick decisions through categorical information, whereas the other underscores the need to be accurate through effortful use of individuating information. The perceiver who must prioritize between these interaction goals is dubbed the motivated tactician. Using stereotypes can smooth interactions if both people agree on the stereotype or if the interaction is brief and inconsequential for the holder of the stereotype.

Because they are convenient, stereotypes often actively motivate perceivers to maintain them. Creating exceptional subtypes is one way to maintain an overall stereotype despite a few salient people who do not conform neatly to the group. Subtyping allows the perceiver to cognitively isolate people who are stereotype-inconsistent by explaining that while they belong to the stereotyped group, they do not entirely represent the group.

At the societal level, system justification theory argues that people stereotype to maintain the status quo, even at the expense of one’s own group. Some researchers argue that minority groups’ own negative stereotypes demonstrate the system-justifying effects of stereotypes. Some researchers also suggest that complementary stereotypes (e.g., poor but happy, rich but miserable) increase support for the status quo because they satisfy people’s desire to perceive their world as fair and legitimate.

stereotype research paper topics

Measurement: The Explicit And The Implicit

Although stereotypes may reflect a cultural belief, the individual with that knowledge does not necessarily endorse such a belief, as argued by the dissociation model of stereotypes. Nevertheless, regardless of one’s explicit prejudice level, a person may be primed to think of groups stereotypically. For example, the presentation of a group label facilitates the activation of subsequent stereotype-consistent associations for both low- and high-prejudiced people. Implicit stereotypes can persist, even when explicit stereotypes do not.

Incongruent results from explicit and implicit stereotype measures illustrate the dissociation between personal endorsement and cultural knowledge. They also demonstrate that perceivers are often unaware of their own cognitive associations, particularly if they are automatic. In addition, when egalitarian cultural norms discourage unfavorable prejudgments of others, and perceivers have a self-interest to refrain from these expressions, implicit measures can extract more information than can explicit measures. In short, implicit measures may detect what remains elusive from explicit measures. Regardless of whether a measure is explicit or implicit, stereotype measures reveal biases toward stereotype-consistent information.

Explicit measures are straightforward. As with other attitude measures, researchers can assess stereotypes through self-reports of impressions about target groups. For example, perceivers can express their impressions of immigrants in their own words, which the researchers then code into manageable categories. Stereotypes might include immigrant groups’ traits, behaviors, socioeconomic status, and life satisfaction, for example. Alternatively, perceivers can rate on a scale of how characteristically immigrants are hard-working, engage in criminal behaviors, experience poverty, feel welcome in the host nation, and so on.

Implicit measures reveal attention, attribution, and memory biases toward stereotype-consistent information. People prefer to confirm their stereotypes, at an immediate perceptual level, detecting stereotype-consistent information more easily. Although they then attend to stereotype-inconsistent information, if present, they tend to explain it away: The out-group’s success was a fluke, the successful out-group individual is not typical, and so on. In general, an out-group’s stereotype-consistent behavior elicits internal attributions to the group’s enduring dispositions; stereotype-inconsistent behavior elicits external attributions to chance or temporary circumstances. If a particular negative trait stereotype afflicts a target group, that group’s failures could be attributed to the supposed negative trait. If an out-group member does behave negatively and stereotypically (e.g., the criminal activity of a black person), situational factors will likely be disregarded in explaining that person’s behavior. People also better recall and recognize stereotype-consistent information than stereotype-inconsistent information if they are busy and operating in the complex environments typical of everyday interactions.

Researchers also devise priming methods to study automatic stereotypic associations. Some involve subliminal presentation of priming stimuli. Study participants then perform various tasks—including word searches, lexical decision tasks, fluency-manipulated tasks, and interpretations of ambiguous behaviors—in which they might produce responses that indicate stereotypic associations to the primes. Reaction speed, performance quality, and stereotypicality of responses indicate level of stereotype activation. Compared to this preconscious (subliminal) presentation of stimuli, other priming manipulations explicitly present stimuli; thus the perceiver postcon-sciously produces the activated associations. The implicit association test consciously primes two categories and then measures differential reaction times to concepts that are stereotype-consistent to one of the primes but not the other. People often react more quickly to negative words following out-group primes and to positive words following in-group primes. Also using postconscious priming, neuroimaging studies show increased amygdala (vigilance) activation to images of out-groups. Automatic associations escape a person’s conscious awareness, but implicit measures subtly detect what lurks beneath the surface.

Consequences: The Good, The Bad, And More Bad

Stereotypes might result from historical accidents, unduly generalize across people, and mostly derogate, yet they persist. Nevertheless, the costs of stereotyping have more extensive effects, especially for the target. First, the per-ceiver glosses over individuating information about a target (preference for stereotype-consistent information foregoes potential knowledge gain). On their side, targets are evaluated at the category level and not according to individual characteristics. They might even be classified with others in a group with which they do not identify.

Inaccuracies of three types plague stereotypes. Stereotypic inaccuracy refers to the overestimation of the target group’s stereotypicality or the underweighing of its stereotype-inconsistent qualities. Valence inaccuracy entails exaggeration of the negativity or positivity of the group’s stereotypes. Dispersion inaccuracy results from over- or undergeneralizing the variability between group members. Nonetheless, some other researchers argue for studying the accuracies contained within stereotypes because in this view they reflect reality.

The effects of stereotyping increase concomitantly with prejudice. Stereotypes along with prejudice strongly predict discrimination, so prejudiced perceivers are much more likely to act on their prejudice to negatively stereotyped groups.

Stereotypes reach beyond themselves. Stereotype threat describes targets’ awareness of their group’s negative stereotypes in a particular and consequential performance domain; they can ironically perform worse than those who do not care about that domain. Furthermore, stereotype threat leads to the targets fulfilling the stereotype that haunted them in the first place. Some examples are black students in an academic setting and women in mathematical tasks, for whom performance was labeled as diagnostic of their ability. Stereotype-threat effects differ from self-fulfilling prophecies because they affect people without encountering a prejudiced person.

Self-fulfilling prophecies, also called behavioral confirmation, perpetuate stereotypes through the perceiver’s expectancies of confirmation and the target’s behavioral confirmations of the expectancy. For the perceiver, one utility of stereotypes is in making the cognitive and social load more manageable. Stereotypes may also be useful for targets who want to fulfill their interaction partner’s expectancies so that they can avoid conflict or focus on an aspect of the interaction they deem more important. The process, however, perpetuates stereotypes in society.


  • Devine, Patricia G. 1989. Stereotypes and Prejudice: Their Automatic and Controlled Components. Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology 56 (1): 5–18.
  • Fiske, Susan T., Amy J. C. Cuddy, Peter Glick, and Jun Xu. 2002. A Model of (Often Mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence and Warmth Respectively Follow from Perceived Status and Competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82 (6): 878–902.
  • Greenwald, Anthony G., and Mahzarin R. Banaji. 1995. Implicit Social Cognition: Attitudes, Self-Esteem, and Stereotypes. Psychological Review 102 (1): 4–27.
  • Jost, John T., and Mahzarin R. Banaji. 1994. The Role of Stereotyping in System Justification and the Production of False Consciousness. British Journal of Social Psychology 33 (1): 1–27.
  • Macrae, C. Neil, Charles Stangor, and Miles Hewstone, eds. 1996. Stereotypes and Stereotyping. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Tajfel, Henri, and John C. Turner. 2004. The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior. In Political Psychology: Key Readings, eds. John T. Jost and Jim Sidanius, 276–293. New York: Psychology Press.
  • Turner, John C., and Penelope J. Oakes. 1989. Self- Categorization Theory and Social Influence. In The Psychology of Group Influence, ed. Paul B. Paulus, 233–275. 2nd ed. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
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stereotype research paper topics

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  1. (DOC) stereotype essay

    stereotype research paper topics

  2. Stereotype Essay Examples

    stereotype research paper topics

  3. Scholarship essay: Stereotyping essays

    stereotype research paper topics

  4. 001 Stereotypes Essay Example Of Mental Illness Comparison With Ethnic

    stereotype research paper topics

  5. (PDF) Stereotypes About Stereotype Research

    stereotype research paper topics

  6. (PDF) Research Scholar Gender Stereotypes in Advertising: A Critical

    stereotype research paper topics


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  1. 113 Stereotype Essay Topics to Write about & Samples

    113 Stereotype Essay Topics & Examples Updated: Oct 26th, 2023 10 min Looking for good stereotypes to write about? Look no further! This list contains only the best themes about stereotypes in society for your college essay or project.

  2. 190 Stereotypes Essay Topics & Research Titles at StudyCorgi

    190 Stereotypes Essay Topics Table of Contents 🏆 Best Essay Topics on Stereotypes Gender Stereotypes: Should Real Men Wear Pink? Gender Stereotypes in Western and Eastern Culture Horse Riding Stereotype Among the Native Americans Mass Media: Critical Thinking Skills, Images, and Stereotypes Reducing Stereotype, Prejudice, and Discrimination

  3. Twenty Years of Stereotype Threat Research: A Review of ...

    Method Discussion Supporting Information Author Contributions References Reader Comments Figures Abstract This systematic literature review appraises critically the mediating variables of stereotype threat. A bibliographic search was conducted across electronic databases between 1995 and 2015.

  4. Editorial: The psychological process of stereotyping: Content, forming

    Specifically, the Research Topic consists of 13 papers by 54 scholars that target stereotypes among different social groups, including males and females, older people and young generation, minority races, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), people with mental health problems, juvenile transgressors, refugees, and Asian-Americans during COVID-19...

  5. PDF Stereotypes

    Stereotypes PedroBordalo,KatherineCoïŹ€man,NicolaGennaioli,AndreiShleifer Firstdraft,November2013. Thisversion,May2015. Abstract We present a model of stereotypes in which a decision maker assessing a group recalls onlythatgroup'smostrepresentativeordistinctivetypes.

  6. 94 Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics

    Let us help you 👍 Good Gender Stereotypes Research Topics & Essay Examples Futurama Series Speaks Against Gender Stereotypes Although Futurama may seem to be a sexist series, at first sight, a closer examination reveals several directions in which this work speaks against gender stereotypes. Role of Gender Stereotypes in Advertising

  7. Frontiers

    1 Department for Education, UniversitĂ€t der Bundeswehr MĂŒnchen, Neubiberg, Germany; 2 Federal Centre for Professionalization in Education Research, University of Teacher Education Styria, Graz, Austria; 3 Educational Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria; It's possible to assume that women who study STEM topics with a low proportion of females have ...

  8. Gender Stereotypes and Their Impact on Women's Career Progressions from

    Gender stereotyping is considered to be a significant issue obstructing the career progressions of women in management. The continuation of minimal representation and participation of women in top-level management positions (Elacqua, Beehr, Hansen, & Webster, 2009; World Economic Forum, 2017) forms the basis of this research.After critically reviewing the existing literature, it was noticed ...

  9. Stereotyping

    Lifestyle Risks. Joel J. Heidelbaugh MD, Gary Yen MD, in Clinical Men's Health, 2008 Introduction. The stereotyping of males from a young age has included such typical characteristics as self-reliance, participation in dangerous activities, dominance, independence, being physically active, and aggression, among others. 1 Although this list is probably an oversimplification of the subtleties in ...

  10. (PDF) Stereotyping and Stereotypes

    ... 29 Stereotypes undermine people's social standing by "othering" them to a specific attribute or disposition that leads to discrimination. 30 In this article, we refer to discrimination as the...

  11. (PDF) Analysis of current gender stereotypes

    Abstract and Figures. Gender stereotypes are beliefs about attributes associated to women and men that reveal gender discrimination. In order to identify changes of gender discrimination, the ...

  12. Gender stereotypes and biases in early childhood: A systematic review

    More research is needed to identify effective programs and strategies for countering gender stereotypes and supporting egalitarian attitudes within early childhood. Despite the need for more research, initiatives that create cultures based on principles of gender equity and respect could reduce gender stereotypes and promote gender egalitarian ...

  13. Twenty years of gender equality research: A scoping review based on a

    Gender equality is a major problem that places women at a disadvantage thereby stymieing economic growth and societal advancement. In the last two decades, extensive research has been conducted on gender related issues, studying both their antecedents and consequences. However, existing literature reviews fail to provide a comprehensive and clear picture of what has been studied so far, which ...

  14. 152 Stereotypes Essay Topics

    If so, you want to write a good essay and score the top grade in your class. These steps will help you write a winning essay about stereotypes. Choose an interesting topic: Selecting a topic for a stereotype essay might seem easy for some learners.

  15. ≡Essays on Gender Stereotypes. Free Examples of Research Paper Topics

    Tips for Choosing Gender Stereotypes Essay Topics. Focus on a particular stereotype: Choose a specific gender stereotype and examine its impact on individuals and society. ... Abstract This research paper discusses the impact of gender stereotypes on women advancement in the workplace. Although men declare that women have gained their rights ...

  16. Top 150 Gender Research Topics For An Excellent Paper

    Gender Stereotypes Research Paper Topics. Although we live in a developed society, there are still lots of gender stereotypes thousands of people believe in. Many of these stereotypes are related to gender, as well as relationships in families. You can create a gender stereotypes research paper using one of the following ideas.

  17. Twenty Years of Stereotype Threat Research: A Review of Psychological

    Over the past two decades, stereotype threat has become one of the most widely researched topics in social psychology [ 1, 2 ]. Reaching its 20 th anniversary, Steele and Aronson's [ 3] original article has gathered approximately 5,000 citations and has been referred to as a 'modern classic' [ 4, 5, 6 ].

  18. 100 Best Gender Research Topics

    100 Gender Research Topics For Academic Papers. Gender research topics are very popular across the world. Students in different academic disciplines are often asked to write papers and essays about these topics. Some of the disciplines that require learners to write about gender topics include: Sociology. Psychology.

  19. PDF Research On Gender Stereotypes

    287 Research On Gender Stereotypes DOI: 10.29322/IJSRP.11.02.2021.p11034 http://dx.doi.org/10.29322/IJSRP.11.02.2021.p11034 Abstract- This study aims to study various stereotypes associated to a particular gender. It talks about how the society forms various norms which might be very biased.

  20. 113 Great Research Paper Topics

    113 Great Research Paper Topics. One of the hardest parts of writing a research paper can be just finding a good topic to write about. Fortunately we've done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of 113 interesting research paper topics. They've been organized into ten categories and cover a wide range of subjects so you can easily ...

  21. Stereotypes Research Paper ⋆ Research Paper Examples ⋆ EssayEmpire

    The answers to these questions produce stereotypes in four quadrants: ambivalent (or cross-dimensional) stereotypes (e.g., elderly people are stereotypically nice but incompetent, rich people are stereotypically competent but not nice); stereotypically neither warm nor competent (e.g., poor people); and stereotypically both warm and competent (e...