Gender stereotypes in Educational Socialization

In our society, men and women have the same formal developmental and educational chances, and meta-analyses show that the sexes do not significantly differ in cognitive abilities or personality characteristics per se. Nevertheless, consistent gender differences continue to be observed in educational contexts: girls tend to be interested in language subjects, and boys in mathematics and the natural sciences. Young women still become hairdressers and teachers at much higher rates, while young men become auto mechanics and engineers. Girls have better grades on average and successfully complete school and vocational training more frequently, but women are significantly underrepresented in higher-up positions in working life.

The causes of gender differences in performance, motivation and interests are undoubtedly diverse. Nevertheless, it is uncontested that gender stereotypes – culturally-shared assumptions about how men and women and boys and girls are and should be – play a critical role. Our research examines how gender stereotypes are perpetuated – usually in an unintended way -- in various educational contexts from pre-school to school and further on to university. On the basis of this, we develop interventions to reduce gender stereotypes in these contexts, conduct these interventions and evaluate their effectiveness.


REFLECT - Gender Competence through Reflective Coeducation

  • Project management: Christiane Spiel & Barbara Schober
  • Project staff: Monika Finsterwald, Nina Hesse, Gregor Jöstl, Michaela Pichler, Vera Popper
  • Funding: Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur (BMUKK), Bundesministerium für Gesundheit und Frauen (BMGF), Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie (BMVIT), Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Soziales und Konsumentenschutz (BMASK) 

Gender-sensitive pedagogy in the elementary sector

  • Project management: Christiane Spiel & Barbara Schober
  • Project staff: Marlene Kollmayer, Marie-Therese Schultes
  • Funding: Bundesministerium für Familien und Jugend (BMFJ)

 Selected Publications

Patzak, A., Kollmayer, M. & Schober, B. (2017). Buffering Impostor Feelings with Kindness: The Mediating Role of Self-compassion between Gender-role Orientation and the Impostor Phenomenon. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01289

Kollmayer, M., Schober, B., & Spiel, C. (2016). Gender stereotypes in education: Development, consequences, and interventions. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, doi: 10.1080/17405629.2016.1193483.

Kanka, M., Wagner, P., Schober, B., & Spiel, C. (2013). Gender-stereotyped attitudes in kindergarten students: A multicausal analysis. The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences (EJSBS), 8 (5), 1294-1299

Finsterwald, M., Schober, B., Jöstl, G. & Spiel, C. (2012). Motivation und Attributionen: Geschlechtsunterschiede und Interventionsmöglichkeiten. In H. Stöger & A. Ziegler (Hrsg.), Mädchen und Frauen in MINT: Bedingungen von Geschlechtsunterschieden und Interventionsmöglichkeiten (S. 193-212). Berlin: LIT.

Hausmann, M., & Schober, B. (Ed.). (2012). Sex and Gender Differences Revisited – New Perspectives and New Findings. Topical Issue of the Zeitschrift für Psychologie/ Journal of Psychology.

Jöstl, G., Bergsmann, E., Lüftenegger, M., Schober, B., & Spiel, C. (2012). When will they blow my cover: The impostor phenomenon as a psychological barrier in female university careers. Zeitschrift für Psychologie / Journal of Psychology, 220, 109-120.

Spiel, C., Schober, B. & Finsterwald, M. (2011). Brave Mädchen - Böse Buben? Genderstereotype in der Bildungssozialisation. In Magerl, G., Neck, R. & Spiel, C. (Hrsg.), Wissenschaft und Gender (S. 81-97). Wien: Böhlau.

Schober, B., Dresel, M., & Ziegler, A. (2008). Warum Elterneinflüsse in der Koedukationsdebatte berücksichtigt werden sollten. Erwartungen, Einstellungen und Überzeugungen von Eltern von monoedukativ und von koedukativ unterrichteten Mädchen. In P. H. Ludwig, & H. Ludwig (Hrsg.), Erwartungen in himmelblau und rosarot. Effekte, Determinanten und Konsequenzen von Geschlechterdifferenzen in der Schule (S. 237−250). Weinheim: Juventa.

Spiel, C. & Schober, B. (2008). Does our educational system discriminate against girls? Report for the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the European Council: University of Vienna.