428 Women Leaders & Stereotypes

Research by Dasgupta, N. & Asgari, S. (2004).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, M.S.

How are we shaped by gender stereotypes? Does a women’s environment affect how she views herself or other women? Psychologists assessed whether a women’s automatic gender stereotype can be challenged. Specifically, to what extent does exposure to women leaders impact their traditional gender stereotypes?

Psychologists assessed this question through two studies. One study manipulated exposure, where participants saw information regarding famous women leaders. The second study compared a women’s college with a coeducational college.

Results? Women attending women’s colleges exposed to female leaders were less likely to believe in traditional gender stereotypes. Additionally, the long-term effect was dependent on the extent of exposure. Women attending coeducational colleges especially when attending male-dominated courses had greater gender stereotypes than women attending women’s colleges.

Women!Look around! Does your environment provide growth for women of all ages?! Encourage an environment clear of gender stereotyped beliefs to help women gain their full potential. Exposure to female leaders allows women to work past unconscious stereotypes! Women set your mind on high goals, keep pictures of female leaders on your mirror!


Dasgupta, N. & Asgari, S. (2004). Seeing is believing: Exposure to counter stereotypic women leaders and its effect on the malleability of automatic gender stereotyping. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 642-658.

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