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Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Psychology


Majel Baker


Women's underrepresentation in STEM is due to many factors, one of which includes the mode of STEM job advertising. The scarcity of women in STEM careers might be thought to be their choice, but previous research suggests that wording in job ads influences women’s choices. Job ads can contain masculine-stereotypical wording, which has a negative impact on women’s interest in applying (Gaucher et al., 2011). Moreover, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are used to target men for STEM jobs opportunities, reducing women’s opportunity to apply to these jobs (Imana et al., 2021; Tamime et al., 2022).

This present study examined the percentage of male-stereotyped words (e.g., “Strong, Confident”) vs. female-stereotyped (e.g., “Kind, Caring”) words in each STEM department at CSB/SJU. All job ads posted between Fall 2021 – Spring 2023 on CSB/SJU Student Employment Office website were collected through archival research, resulting in 26 job ads from STEM departments. Overall, there were more female-stereotyped words than male-stereotyped words. Biology had more male-stereotyped words, Chemistry had more female-stereotyped words, and Environmental Studies had an equal proportion of words. Other departments (e.g., Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Math,) posted short job ads with multiple jobs advertised simultaneously, making analysis of wording limited. We found that most job ads on campus were reused annually, advertised through “word of mouth” or in-class, and they used the same job ads for different positions. As a result, it’s possible that job ads are not equally distributed among students as needed to ensure equal opportunity.