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Emerging Gender Equality Research from the G-VERSITY Consortium at The Open Psychology Research Centre.

What is This Event?

The Open University (OU) is a partner in the G-VERSITY consortium. This event capitalizes on the presence of six of the G-VERSITY fellows in the region to provide the OU research community this opportunity to engage with their emerging research. Their work will be of particular interest to social scientists with interests in gender in psychology in a European context, and who are PhD students or early career researchers themselves.

Organizer: Prof Peter Hegarty (Psychology and Counselling)
Co-Director of the Open Psychology Research Centre (OPRC) & Lead on Professional and Career Development and Project 7 (G-VERSITY consortium).

What is G-VERSITY?

The European Commission and the United Nations have committed to the sustainable development goal of achieving gender equality in education, political participation, and economic empowerment by 2030. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action initial training network G-VERSITY is training fifteen new doctoral research fellows in interdisciplinary gender diversity research to the highest level in 2020-2024. These fellows are acquiring the skills to develop and implement interventions to overturn the historical underrepresentation of women, men and gender and sexual minorities in professions and other positions of influence. During their PhD fellowships, the fellows are engaged in hands-on research training, and academic and non-academic secondments, whilst being mentored by ten senior academics across Europe and their non-academic partners within the G-VERSITY consortium. G-VERSITY aims to produce cutting-edge knowledge of problems associated with gendered educational and professional pathways, a practical toolbox with applicable knowledge to attain gender diversity, and future leaders of this field.

Abstracts for Research Presentations:

Session 1: Creating and Sustaining Gender Diversity at Work.

Parent-Child Conversations about Subject Domains and Occupations (Project 1).
Andrea Kočiš, University of Surrey (UK)

The main aim of my project is to expand the understanding of the role of parents’ gender-role stereotyped socialization in shaping children’s pathways towards careers from early ages. In my research I am combining different methods, but mostly relying on surveys and observational studies. In this talk I will share some of the findings about parents’ beliefs about addressing sexism and addressing the topics of careers with children.

LGBQ Individuals on their Pathways to Leadership (Project 7).
Shannon O’Rourke, The Open University (UK).

This research is an inquiry towards the leadership experiences of people who identify as LGBQ in the UK and Italy. In this presentation, I will share preliminary findings from qualitative interviews in the UK. I will discuss how LGBQ leaders have navigated coming out and speaking about their sexual identities in the workplace, the impact of other identities, and the degree to which sexual identity features in leadership experiences. This presentation will suggest that feelings of vulnerability in the workplace can create connection, but this requires a workplace environment where diversity and openness is acknowledged, discussed, and valued.

Challenging Manhood: When Men Strive for Male-Atypical Professions (Project 5).
Serena Haines, Czech Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic).

While women are increasingly entering into male-dominated professions, men do not receive the same level of encouragement to enter into women-dominated, care oriented careers. This project attempts to identify factors that may empower men to face gender norm challenges in their professional life, specifically in the field of childcare work, using mixed methods and exploring this idea from two different perspectives—how others perceive men who work in childcare, and how men themselves perceive childcare work as a potential career. I will present plans for the first two studies in the project and expected findings.

Session 2: Interventions in Gendered Workplaces.

Underlying Psychological Processes of Mentoring Relationships (Project 15).
Federica Case, University of Surrey (UK)

Mentoring relationships can foster better workplace experiences, career success and personal development (Allen et al.,2004; Eby et al., 2013). This research project intends to untangle which psychological processes impact the preference for a mentor and, consequently, the engagement in a mentoring relationship. The factors that drive the subjective perceived fit of a mentor might be inconsistent with the factors that are associated with optimal mentoring relationships (i.e., Eby et al., 2013), and addressing this discrepancy can recommend future guidelines and research directions.

Language and Images: Social Inclusion through Subtle Cues in Organisational Communication (Project 10).
Mary Ann Ciosk, Trieste University (Italy)

Non-prototypicality may result in some social category intersections being “invisiblized”. Three experimental studies (Italy, United States, and South Africa) investigated cognitive invisibility and its relation to representativeness, population prevalence, and socioeconomic status within intersectional gender (women and men) and race (Black and White people) categories. Black women are not prototypical of either Black people or women. Further, the overestimated prevalence of White men renders Black women an underestimated numeric minority, and the high estimated socioeconomic status of White men contributes to the social disempowerment of Black women. Hence, “invisibility” may be due to the cooccurrence of multiple causes.

Sexist organizational climate and gender-based harassment: Obstacles to careers in male-dominated fields (Project 4)
Franziska Saxler, University of Bern (Switzerland).

This presentation on sexual harassment in the workplace focuses on the definition and prevalence of sexual harassment. The common consequences of sexual workplace harassment will be discussed. Relationships between harassment experiences and various psychological constructs (e.g., self-blame, agency, intentional withdrawal from work) are presented. In addition, a psychological model is discussed that explains how sexual harassment in the workplace causes victims to leave their jobs as a result of the experience.


This event is hosted by the Open Psychology Research Centre, within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University, and delivered through its strand of research on Culture and Social Psychology (CUSP) in collaboration with Prof Sara Haslam, Director of Research Degrees, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. It is supported by the G-VERSITY consortium.

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