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“Subtle Micro-Messages Impact the Success of Women and Girls in STEM” Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, GSE/EXT: STEM Equity Pipeline.

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Presentation on theme: "“Subtle Micro-Messages Impact the Success of Women and Girls in STEM” Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, GSE/EXT: STEM Equity Pipeline."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Subtle Micro-Messages Impact the Success of Women and Girls in STEM” Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, GSE/EXT: STEM Equity Pipeline Project, Grant No. HRD © 2009 National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Mimi Lufkin, CEO, NAPE Education Foundation Robbin Chapman, PhD Associate Provost and Academic Director of Diversity and Inclusion Wellesley College

2 STEM Equity Pipeline Project of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Education Foundation Funded by the National Science Foundation Human Resources Directorate, Gender in Science and Engineering Program, Extension Services Grant

3 Goals Build the capacity of the formal education community to provide high quality professional development on gender equity in STEM education Institutionalize the implemented strategies by connecting the outcomes to existing accountability systems Broaden the commitment to gender equity in STEM education

4 STEM Equity Pipeline Project Methods Professional Development Teacher Training Consulting and Technical Assistance Virtual Web-based Professional Learning Community Best Practices Handbook

5 How can you get involved? Participate on your State Team Participate in the virtual learning community by going to

6 Poll Who is participating in today’s webinar? 1.School/College Administrator 2.Teacher/Faculty Member 3.Counselor/Student Services Staff 4.State Agency Staff 5.STEM Organization Staff 6.Other

7 Subtle Micro-Messages Impact the Success of Women and Girls in STEM: Let’s Move from Inequities to Affirmations Robbin Chapman, PhD Associate Provost and Academic Director of Diversity and Inclusion Wellesley College © 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

8 Webinar Objectives Session 1: Introduction Definitions Triggers Recognizing Exercises Summary Session 2: Review and report outs Responding to micro-inequities Tools for personal development Seeding positive experiences for women in STEM fields 4/25/20158© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

9 Session I - Objectives Introduction to Micro-messaging Understanding and Fluency Micro-message Triggers Recognizing Micro-messages Exercises Overview of Session II 4/25/20159© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

10 Setting the Stage Challenges for women in STEM fields Addressing the “chilly climate” Taking action for change Overt negative behaviors, such as harassment, are more readily visible It’s the small and seemingly insignificant behaviors that are more challenging to recognize 4/25/201510© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

11 Chris Argyris’ Ladder of Inference Taking Action 4/25/2015© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

12 Taking Action Dealing with our own unconscious biases as teachers and mentors Dealing with inappropriate actions of others 4/25/2015© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD Chris Argyris’ Ladder of Inference

13 EQUITY Concept or idea of fairness. DIVERSITY Measure of variance along some dimension within a group INCLUSION Fully and respectfully involving all individuals in the activities and life of an organization Talking the Talk 4/25/201513© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

14 Talking the Talk MICRO-MESSAGES Signals we send to one another through our behavior. They are called “micro” because the behaviors are small, although their impact can be enormous. MICRO-INEQUITIES Micro-messages we send other people that cause them to feel devalued, slighted, discouraged or excluded. MICRO-AFFIRMATIONS Micro-messages that cause people to feel valued, included, or encouraged. 4/25/201514© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

15 Micromessaging 90% of our communication is non-verbal 4/25/201515© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

16 Micromessaging 90% of our communication is non-verbal What kinds of messages are you sending? 4/25/201516© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

17 Deconstructing Micro-Inequities These subtle messages build up and have a huge impact Negative micro-messages Tiny, pervasive, cumulative, discouraging Often semi-conscious Lurking just below the surface Built into an organization’s culture 4/25/201517© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

18 Deconstructing Micro-Inequities These subtle messages build up and have a huge impact Characterized by: –Looks, gestures, tones –Seemingly harmless messages of devaluation –Absence of message –Levels of interaction 4/25/201518© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

19 Examples of Micro-Inequity Dismissing the idea of a female student only to applaud the same idea when paraphrased by a male student. A chair uses a light-hearted, playful greeting with some faculty, but greets others in a formal, more distant manner. Search committee members are welcoming when meeting white male candidate but reserved when meeting a woman candidate. Repeatedly confusing the names of classmates who share the same ethnic background. A faculty member is fully engaged when responding to the contribution of a male student, but critical when females respond. 4/25/201519© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

20 Facial expressions or body language dismissing importance of diversity A woman faculty is not introduced or ignored completely after being introduced Assumption that women faculty are secretaries or support staff Referring to white male faculty as “Dr.” or “Professor” but referring to female or faculty of color by first name or “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Chair introduces new male faculty member at department meeting by talking about his research; introduces new female faculty member by talking about how she will bring attractiveness to the faculty ranks Examples of Micro-Inequity 4/25/201520© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

21 The Cost of Micro-Inequity Leads to damaged self-esteem, withdrawal Discourages creativity and risk-taking Results in negative Pygmalion effect Think of some micro-inequities you have either sent, seen, or experienced? 4/25/201521© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

22 Micro-affirmations Positive micro-messages Act as catalyst for unleashing potential and results Inspire confidence Enable stretch for higher goals Question: What might a micro-affirmation look like? Think of some micro-affirmations you have either sent, seen, or experienced? 4/25/201522© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

23 An Inequitable Work Environment: Impact for Women in STEM Fields Lack of collegiality Lack of mentoring and support Lack of sharing information, esp. tacit information – informal networks don’t work well for faculty who are in underrepresented groups Isolation – Described by senior women faculty of color as the single most important barrier for faculty of color – Not being privy to the things required to be successful Micro-inequities are more of a barrier to a truly inclusive culture than overt harassment or discrimination 4/25/201523© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

24 Exercise 1.Share an example of a micro-inequity you’ve seen or experienced that bothered you. 2.Share an example of a micro-inequity you’ve sent to others. 3.What did you do in response to the micro-inequity (i.e., Did you speak about it directly to the person, stay silent, complain to others….)? 4/25/201524© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

25 Micro-Messaging TRIGGERS 4/25/201525© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

26 Our Triggers are Hardwired The FamiliarThe Different Safe Known Given greater value Is rewarded Dangerous Alien Of lesser value Must be attacked 4/25/201526© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

27 Our Triggers are Hardwired The Familiar Safe Known Given greater value Is rewarded The Different Dangerous Alien Of lesser value Must be attacked We must learn to recognize our triggers if we are to take charge of our micro-messaging 4/25/201527© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

28 Triggers to Consider Gender Race Looks, height, weight Dress Perceived sexual orientation Perceived nationality _______________________ May be positive or negative May be culturally determined 4/25/201528© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

29 RECOGNIZING Micro-Inequities 4/25/201529© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

30 RECOGNIZING Micro-Inequities Look 4/25/201530© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

31 Micro-inequities often look like variances in: Body language Vocal Tone Vocabulary Eye contact Physical contact Access Questions and interactions Look Look for repeated patterns of these and other variances when people are interacting 4/25/201531© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

32 Micro-Messaging Worksheet Micro-inequities Micro-affirmations 4/25/201532© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

33 RECOGNIZING Micro-Inequities LookListen 4/25/201533© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

34 “I don’t feel welcome.” “I don’t feel supported.” “I don’t feel valued.” “My contributions are marginalized.” “I feel invisible.” Listen Micro-inequities translate into statements like: 4/25/201534© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

35 Micro-Messaging Worksheet Micro-inequities Micro-affirmations 4/25/201535© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

36 RECOGNIZING Micro-Inequities LookListen Reflect 4/25/201536© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

37 Notice your reactions… When am I listening? When am I shutting people out? Who am I including and excluding? Who am I encouraging and praising? Whose contributions am I taking for granted? Who do I consistently overlook? Reflect 4/25/ © 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

38 Recognizing Micro-Inequities Worksheet based on Stephen Young, Microinequities: The Power of Small, 2008 Insight Education Systems Micro-inequities I sent this time: Micro-inequities I received: Micro-inequities I observed: Self-Assessment Micro-affirmations I can send next time: Strategies for taking action: Strategies for intervening: Self-Improvement 4/25/201538© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

39 Level 1: Comprehension of concepts and willingness to practice Level 2: Some fluency with concepts. Some practice with concepts and self-assessment. Any action taken is, generally, personally motivated. Level 3: Better recognition of micro-messaging, including identifying sender, recipient, and observers. Some practice with responding to micro-inequities. Level 4: Greater fluency in responding to micro-inequities. Working to influence positive “climate change.” Are We There Yet? 4/25/201539© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

40 Level 1: Comprehension of concepts and willingness to practice Level 2: Some fluency with concepts. Some practice with concepts and self-assessment. Any action taken is, generally, personally motivated. Level 3: Better recognition of micro-messaging, including identifying sender, recipient, and observers. Some practice with responding to micro-inequities. Level 4: Greater fluency in responding to micro-inequities. Working to influence positive “climate change.” Are We There Yet? 4/25/201540© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

41 Taking It Home Practice: Engage in critical self-analysis Work toward aligning your intent and goals with your micro-messages. Identify one thing you will start and one thing you still stop Make a conscious effort to view your environment through the eyes of others 4/25/201541© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

42 Do I feel included, respected, valued? Which of my behaviors shut people out? Which of my behaviors encourage everyone’s participation? What can I do, large or small, to bring about affirming change? What can my work group do? Please bring any questions, comments, observations, and notes from the exercises to the next session Taking It Home 4/25/201542© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

43 Practice: Pair up with someone. Take three minutes as a speaker. The speaker will communicate to the listener three things that he/she did last week. The listener will send as many negative micro-messages as they can in three minutes. – List the micro-messages you observed – List possible micro-affirmations to use next time, if applicable. Repeat the exercise, this time sending micro-affirmations for three minutes. List what you observe. Taking It Home 4/25/201543© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

44 Recognizing Micro-Inequities* * Worksheet based on Stephen Young, Microinequities: The Power of Small, 2008 Insight Education Systems Micro-inequities I sent this time: Micro-inequities I received: Micro-inequities I observed: Self-Assessment Micro-affirmations I can send next time: Strategies for taking action: Strategies for intervening: Self-Improvement 4/25/201544© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

45 In Summary Effects of Micro-inequities for women in STEM… Decrease in speaking/sharing ideas Decrease in taking risks Decrease in productivity Increase in discrimination complaints Poor retention and recruitment High turnover 4/25/201545© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

46 What You Can Do Right Now Micro-messages have a profound impact on how we relate with one another Use your increased awareness to recognize and understand the triggers for micro-inequities that women in STEM fields experience everyday. Begin to think about how micro-messaging impacts the women in STEM fields that you encounter. 4/25/201546© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

47 Next Time Review and report outs Responding to micro-inequities Tools for continued development Seeding positive experiences for women in STEM fields 4/25/201547© 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD

48 Questions or Comments? © 2009, Robbin Chapman, PhD Robbin Chapman, PhD Associate Provost


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