how stereotype threat may cause poor performance in women Essay

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Throughout the years, males have dominated the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with very few females finding their way in the mix (Steinberg, Okun, & Aiken, 2012). Those females enrolling in the STEM majors soon find themselves questioning why they have, and many quickly change their majors to more female-accepting professions (Steele, James, & Barnett, 2002). The view that women lack the intellect to succeeded in STEM disciplines has been a prevailing one for much of history (Cadinu, Maass, Rosabianca, & Kiesner, 2005). Many researchers have questioned whether it is social stigma impeding female success or indeed basic biological differences that make males are more successful
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Stigmatism of a minority group might inadvertently confirm expectations of majority group memberst (Cadinu, et al. 2005). Merely stating a stereotype, such as that men are smarter than woman, can cause women to experience arousal, anxiety, and temporary cognitive deficits (Rydell, Rydell, & Boucher, 2010). These responses to stereotype threat can cause lower performance on an exam, even if a female and a male are at the same level of intelligence and qualification.
Although the underlying process of stereotype threat are not entirely known, it could be connected to impairments of working memory and side effects of anxiety (Krendel, Richeson, Kelley, & Hetherton,2008). In a study done by Schmader and Johns (2003), woman under stereotype threat showed a lower memory capacity along with subject-specific negative thoughts. This may be related to poor performance because the threat triggers performance anxiety, which in turn lowers self-confidence. The anxiety triggers subject specific negative thoughts that consume the working memory making it difficult to retrieve vital information for good performance. In a similar study done by Sekaquaptewa and Thompson (2003) showed that who is near you while you are performing makes a difference. If you were to place one female in an exam room full of males, and another female in an exam room evenly distributed of males and females, the female taking the
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