Does mentoring buffer women in science from the effects of perceived discrimination on career outcomes?

Emily Campbell, Purdue University


The number of women working in STEM areas of academia declines as rank progresses—a phenomenon termed the “leaky pipeline” (Burke, 2007). The leaky pipeline is due in part to discrimination. Women in STEM report high perceived discrimination, which is associated with negative career outcomes (Settles, Cortina, Stewart, & Malley, 2007; Pascoe & Richman, 2009). No research to date has examined whether mentoring might buffer the negative effects of perceived discrimination for female professors working in STEM areas of academia. This study examines whether mentoring relationships moderate the relationships between perceived discrimination and career outcomes including job satisfaction and work engagement for women in STEM. 118 women faculty in STEM completed an online survey of perceived discrimination, job satisfaction, and engagement. Although results revealed main effects of perceived discrimination and mentoring, mentoring did not moderate the relationship between perceived discrimination and outcomes. Exploratory analyses provide future research directions to understand the leaky pipeline.




Ashburn-Nardo, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Womens studies|Organizational behavior

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