On-going projects


Gender Stereotypes

Addressing gender stereotypes is an urgent and important challenge as emphasised by recent Nobel Prize Winner Esther Duflo and several leading international organisations (Bertrand and Duflo, 2017; European Commission, 2021; OCDE, 2022). Fixed ideas about what children are and should be depending on their sex surrounds children from birth – limiting their choices and aspirations with life-long negative implications for individuals and society. ​

​Our team has acquired specialized knowledge in addressing this issue through multiple projects. For instance, Co-Chair Prof. Sevilla have examined the previously ignored role of parents and teachers in challenging gender stereotypes in education  (Nicoletti, C., Sevilla, A., & Tonei, V., 2022). In another project, they worked with WISPP member Pilar Cuevas-Ruiz to investigate the detrimental effect of gender stereotypes on girls' mathematics performance (Sevilla, A. and Cuevas-Ruiz, P., 2022; Borra, C., Cuevas-Ruiz, P., Sevilla, A., 2022).

Gender Wage Gap

Although there has been notable advancement in gender equality and especially in earnings in recent decades, referred to as the "Grand Gender Convergence" (Goldin, C., 2014), progress has slowed down in recent years, particularly since the 1990s (England, P., Livine, A., Mishel, E., 2020). Recent economic research has identified potential areas of inquiry to determine the cause of this concerning slowdown, such as gendered educational choices and the "motherhood penalty" (Bertrand, 2020). Examining these two avenues is vital in order to comprehend the next steps needed to close the gender gap and attain equality, as well as to advocate for the appropriate institutional changes and cultivate an egalitarian society (England, P., Livine, A., Mishel, E., 2020).​

​Our team has been actively addressing the issue by examining these two "pain points" (Bertrand, 2020). Research conducted by our members on programs aimed at closing the gender gap in STEM fields suggests that well-designed interventions can encourage women to pursue careers in these traditionally male-dominated fields, ultimately reducing the long-term gender gap (Contreras, V., 2022, Suteau, M., Draft forthcoming). Other studies have concentrated on the state of the labor market, specifically in the field of economics (Sevilla, A., Smith, S., 2020; Hengel, E. Bateman, V., 2022). In addition, our members have established a comprehensive research agenda to examine the division of labor within households and the impact on mothers' careers, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic (Amuedo-Dorantes, C., Marcén, M., Morales, M., Sevilla, A., 2020; Andrews et al., 2020).

Gender Discrimination

Common performance metrics play a crucial role in job market decisions. Because they only proxy an individual's true productivity, however, they are measured with error—and according to many studies, this error correlates with gender. For example, studies on academia suggest that female economists are held to higher acceptance standards at top journals compared to male economists (Card, et al.(2020), Hengel (2022) and Hengel and Moon (2022)). Men are also better connected to their academic networks (Ductor, Goyal and Prummer 2021), which probably facilitates their outcomes in peer review (for evidence, see, e.g., Colussi, 2018). Meanwhile, Ferber (1988), Dion, Sumner and Mitchell (2018) and Koffi (2021) show that men are less likely to cite women than they are to cite other men, and Larivière, et al. (2013) find that articles with a first or last female author are cited less than observably equivalent articles with male authors in the same positions.

As these studies show, decisions based on “objective” metrics can be just as vulnerable to gender bias as subjective evaluations . An uncritical dependence on them in hiring and promotion may therefore lead to indirect discrimination against certain groups. Our team has been rigorously studying this issue, with a particular emphasis on better understanding the under-representation of women in certain academic fields. Among other things, we have examined inequalities in the process of peer review (Hengel 2022; Alexander, Gorelkina and Hengel 2022), investigated how common metrics of academic performance disadvantage women (Hengel and Moon 2022) and explored the correlation between network connectivity, academic publishing records and gender (Hengel and Phythian Adams, 2022).