Supporting Female Students in the Classroom

by Reagan Middlebrook

What We're Going to Talk About

Not Helping:

What We Actually Need

  • Technical Skills and Knowledge
  • Confidence
  • Opportunities
  • Fairness

"It is very difficult to feel that I am the only one in the lab who doesn't know how to use equipment or how to solve some mechanical problem."



Impostor Syndrome

How You Can Help

  • Lab orientations

  • Reinforce that questions are expected

  • Raised hands

  • Call on students

"[The professor] used 'she' only once, to refer to a kindergarten teacher."

What's the big deal, though?

Stereotype Threat:

being reminded of a negative stereotype about your group makes you more likely to confirm it


Spatial Reasoning Tests

Spatial Reasoning Tests

How can you help?

"It's important to keep in mind that if you are feeling anxious while taking this test, this anxiety could be the result of these negative stereotypes that are widely known in society and have nothing to do with your actual ability to do well on the test.”

Here's where things get tricky...

Unconscious Bias:

when the human tendency towards categorization unconsciously leads to prejudiced behavior and judgments

"A lot of the hurdles aren't visible from where I'm standing."

Gather data

Gather data

  • Grades by gender

  • Blind grading

  • Email response rates

  • Recommendation letter vocabulary

"You can't live in a room where everyone's slinging mud and not get some on you."

Question your assumptions


This is not a problem with an easy solution.

Thank you for listening,

and for

wanting to help

Links to Selected Sources

Links to Selected Sources

Supporting Students

By Reagan Middlebrook

Supporting Students

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