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Throughout history, gender bias has greatly affected women in many areas, primarily

areas of higher education and the workplace. On a college campus, the gender bias that a women

may face has the power to take away her opportunities for the future that a man would acquire

with little to no bias towards him. Although there have been many actions and policies put into

place on college campuses to prevent this bias, I acknowledge that gender bias is still a prevalent

issue in higher education that continues to negatively impact women in higher education as well

as professional careers. The gender bias is causing less women to participate in STEM majors,

giving women in academia poor reputations, and causing women to miss out on opportunities for

success.

Each outcome of bias stems from a different form of bias, from student bias towards

students to student bias towards professors; this variety of bias stemming from different sources

suggests that gender bias is a strenuous issue to defeat. On many university campuses, policies

have been put into place to alleviate some of the gender bias women face, and this can be seen on

our very own campus here at UNC Charlotte. There are events and organizations that work to

solve the issue of gender bias, which can explain why when surveyed, a majority students on this

particular campus claimed that they have not witnessed gender bias on campus (Campus Events).

While this may be true on some campuses, gender bias does still exist on many other campuses.

This issue of gender bias can have a major effect on a woman's choice in major. Women

are often highly outnumbered by men in the STEM majors meaning that they are also

outnumbered by men in STEM career fields. In one study conducted by R.D. Robnett, women in

the STEM major at an undergraduate level were surveyed and asked whether they had

experienced gender bias in their field of study. Sixty-one percent reported that they had been

victims of gender bias within the last year (Robnett). The type of bias that was occurring in this
situation was student bias towards students; males in the same field of study were expressing

bias towards their female counterparts. This form of bias feels more personal. If women are

experiencing gender bias from their own peers, how can they be expected to have the confidence

to continue their career in a STEM field? This study reported that the women who received bias

from their male peers had a poor self-concept. This is likely to affect their ability to succeed

academically when they believe that their are incapable of succeeding. When women have poor

self-concept in their field of study, they are unlikely to continue into that career field, leaving a

major lack of womens thoughts and ideas in STEM careers.

As a rule passed down through history, women are often looked down upon in

professional careers. This can be seen in a variety of aspects such as female full-time workers

making only eighty cents per dollar made by men (Pay Equity & Discrimination). On a college

campus, it becomes more difficult to see the bias in careers since the majority of the campus

population are students training for their first career job. In order to examine gender bias in

careers on college campuses, one must look towards the professors. Many people might suggest

that professor bias towards students is the only form of bias that professors could be involved in;

however, professors often receive bias from their students as well as other professors. In a study

published by Innovative Higher Education, three authors reveal that students rate their male

professors higher than their female professors, solely based on the matter of gender. This study

was conducted through an online classroom setting in which there were two instructors, one male

and one female. Each instructor taught two classes; for one class they identified as themselves,

and for the other class, they identified as their opposite gender counterpart. The students had no

knowledge of their instructors true identity because of the anonymity that comes with the online

classroom setting. When asked to rate their instructors, the ratings of the male instructors,
whether truly male or female posing as a male, were higher than those of the female instructors

(MacNell). These findings prove that students have a preconceived notion about professors that

causes them to believe male professors are superior because of gendered behaviors. These

reviews students provide are often utilized in determining teacher credibility and merits awarded

to teachers. The bias in these reviews places women at a major disadvantage in the teaching

career.

Professors do not only receive bias from students, but also from officials in education.

Women in academia are unable to reach their full potential for success if they are not hired by

universities, and are not given the same opportunities as male professors once hired. This was the

case in a study conducted at M.I.T. where a female professor realized that she was not being

given the same opportunities as the male professors in her field (Wilson). Less female

instructors were being hired and none had ever chaired any academic departments in the School

of Science. These situations hinder female professors opportunities for success in their career.

By not hiring as many female professors and not providing the female professors with

opportunities to advance, universities are creating gender bias.

The ever present issue of gender bias creates a wide number of issues for women in

todays world. Specifically on a college campus, gender bias can have a tragic effect on the

careers, and self concept of women. The efforts that have been made thus far to end gender bias

are a promising start; however the issue is not yet resolved. Judging the credibility, or ability of

a person based solely on their gender is an unfair trend that tears down women in the

professional world. Policies must continue to be put into place combating gender bias in order to

provide women with equal opportunities in higher education and careers.


Works Cited

"Campus Events." Return to Campus Events Main Page. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
MacNell, Lillian, et al. "What's in a Name: Exposing Gender Bias in Student Ratings of

Teaching." Innovative Higher Education, vol. 40, no. 4, Aug. 2015, pp. 291-303.

EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10755-014-9313-4.

"Pay Equity & Discrimination." Institute for Women's Policy Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr.

2017.

Robnett, Rachael D. "Gender Bias in STEM Fields." Psychology of Women Quarterly, vol. 40,

no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 65-79. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0361684315596162.

Wilson, Robin. "An MIT Professor's Suspicion of Bias Leads to a New Movement for Academic

Women. (Cover Story)." Chronicle of Higher Education, vol. 46, no. 15, 03 Dec. 1999, p.

A16. EBSCOhost, librarylink.uncc.edu/login?

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