Swimming Against The Tide: Gender Bias In The Physics Classroom

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Journal Of Women And Minorities In Science And Engineering


This study examines physics students’ evaluations of identical, video-recorded lectures performed by female and male actors playing the role of professors. The results indicate that evaluations by male students show statistically significant overall biases with male professors rated more positively than female ones. Female students tended to be egalitarian, except in two areas. Female students evaluated female professors’ interpersonal/communicative skills more positively than male professors’. And they evaluated female professors’ scientific knowledge and skills less positively than that of male professors just as male students did. These findings might be considered based on two notions: rater-ratee similarity bias and stereotype confirmation bias. They suggest serious considerations for educating students and mentoring faculty members in order to increase the representation of women in the physical sciences.


gender and physics, gender and teaching evaluations, implicit gender bias


This work is a preprint freely available from arXiv.org at arXiv:1705.09636.