When others’ expectations of us appear to be low, how can we — both men and women — avoid stereotype threat and overcome low expectations? The following four actions can help.
Consider the persistent stereotype that female students are not as strong as males in math and science. In one study, women who were reminded of their gender before taking a math test scored lower than equally qualified men who took the same test. The women’s performances suffered because they feared confirming negative female stereotypes, the researchers found. However, when women were reassured that men and women are equally strong at math, the women matched the performances of the men.