Inclusion Really Does Matter: Framing Gender Equality Initiatives to improve attitudes in STEM

Dr Lynn Farrell

Event details

Thursday 27 April 2023


Abstract: Despite the widespread adoption of gender equality initiatives such as Athena SWAN in STEM academic fields, progress towards gender equality has remained slow. Negative or indifferent attitudes towards such initiatives may be a significant contributing factor. To improve the diversity climate within STEM academic departments, we need to better understand how to frame gender equality initiatives to evoke positive responses and higher engagement among STEM academics. Funded by an EPSRC Inclusion Matters grant, this interdisciplinary project based at Queen’s University Belfast aimed to examine the factors that improve attitudes towards gender equality initiatives. This presentation will provide an overview of the research project and discuss results from our first three experiments which examined factors such as content and framing of gender equality initiatives and their effects on STEM academics’ attitudes towards such initiatives. These studies involved a multiple measurement approaches including self-report, implicit and psychophysiological measures. Practical implications in academic fields are also discussed based on these empirical findings.

Bio: Dr Lynn Farrell is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at National College of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from Maynooth University where she was introduced to Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and discovered new ways to explore social psychological phenomena such as stereotypes and bias. Dr Farrell went on to complete her PhD as an Irish Research Council postgraduate scholar at University College Dublin where she explored the nature and malleability of implicit bias towards women in STEM through the lens of RFT as part of the UCD Contextual Behavioural Science lab. After completing her doctoral research, Dr Farrell took up a Research Fellow position at Queen’s University Belfast where she continued to empirically explore how to improve gender equality efforts in STEM as part of the EPSRC funded Inclusion Matters project. Her research interests and publications to date have focused mainly on understanding and influencing implicit and explicit stereotypes and bias particularly related to gender and improving attitudes towards gender equality initiatives.

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