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Title: New Routes to Recruiting and Retaining Women in STEM: Policy Implications of a Communal Goal Congruity Perspective.

Authors: Amanda B. Diekman, Erica S. Weisgram & Aimee L. Belanger

Published: Social Issues and Policy Review, 2015, 9.1: 52-88.

ABSTRACT
Despite advances within a wide range of professional roles, women remain a minority in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees and occupations. The gender gap in mathematics and science performance has converged, and so it is important to consider the motivational reasons that might underlie the differential STEM pursuits of women and men. The goal congruity perspective contends that a fundamental cause of gender gaps in STEM pursuits is the gender difference in communal motivation (i.e., an orientation toward others). STEM fields may be particularly likely to deter communally oriented individuals because these fields are thought to impede goals of directly benefitting others, altruism, or collaboration. In this review, we examine how the communal goal perspective might address the challenges of gender gaps in STEM pursuits from childhood through adulthood. We review the logic and evidence for the goal congruity perspective, and we examine two other deterrents to women in STEM—work-family challenges and stereotyping—from the perspective of this framework. We then examine particular recommendations for policy actions that might broaden participation of women and girls, and communally oriented people generally, in STEM.