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Is it always this cold? Chilly interpersonal climates as a barrier to the well-being of early-career women faculty in STEM

Kathi N. Miner (Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Samantha C. January (Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Kelly K. Dray (Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Adrienne R. Carter-Sowell (Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 10 January 2019

Issue publication date: 26 February 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this project was to examine the extent to which early-career women faculty in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experience working in a chilly interpersonal climate (as indicated by experiences of ostracism and incivility) and how those experiences relate to work and non-work well-being outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Data came from a sample of 96 early-career STEM faculty (Study 1) and a sample of 68 early-career women STEM faculty (Study 2). Both samples completed online surveys assessing their experiences of working in a chilly interpersonal climate and well-being.

Findings

In Study 1, early-career women STEM faculty reported greater experiences of ostracism and incivility and more negative occupational well-being outcomes associated with these experiences compared to early-career men STEM faculty. In Study 2, early-career women STEM faculty reported more ostracism and incivility from their male colleagues than from their female colleagues. Experiences of ostracism (and, to a lesser extent, incivility) from male colleagues also related to negative occupational and psychological well-being outcomes.

Originality/value

This paper documents that exposure to a chilly interpersonal climate in the form of ostracism and incivility is a potential explanation for the lack and withdrawal of junior women faculty in STEM academic fields.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by the National Science Foundation under NSF Cooperative Agreement No. HRD-1008385.

Citation

Miner, K.N., January, S.C., Dray, K.K. and Carter-Sowell, A.R. (2019), "Is it always this cold? Chilly interpersonal climates as a barrier to the well-being of early-career women faculty in STEM", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 226-245. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-07-2018-0127

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited