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Ethnic Variation in Gender-STEM Stereotypes and STEM Participation: An Intersectional Approach


Stereotypes associating men and masculine traits with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are ubiquitous, but the relative strength of these stereotypes varies considerably across cultures. The present research applies an intersectional approach to understanding ethnic variation in gender-STEM stereotypes and STEM participation within an American university context. African American college women participated in STEM majors at higher rates than European American college women (Study 1, Study 2, and Study 4). Furthermore, African American women had weaker implicit gender-STEM stereotypes than European American women (Studies 2–4), and ethnic differences in implicit gender-STEM stereotypes partially mediated ethnic differences in STEM participation (Study 2and Study 4). Although African American men had weaker implicit gender-STEM stereotypes than European American men (Study 4), ethnic differences between men in STEM participation were generally small (Study 1) or nonsignificant (Study 4). We discuss the implications of an intersectional approach for understanding the relationship between gender and STEM participation.