Expected and unexpected effects of sexism on women’s mathematics performance

  • Vanessa Smith-Castro Universidad de Costa Rica http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6348-4223
  • Eiliana Montero-Rojas Universidad de Costa Rica
  • Tania Elena Moreira-Mora Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica
  • José Andrey Zamora-Araya Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica
Keywords: Sexism, Stereotypes, Math Self-efficacy, Standardized Math Tests


Research has shown that gender differences in Math performance are partially predicted by sociocultural aspects such as sexist ideologies and stereotypes. This study examined sexist ideologies as predictors of women´s achievement in standardized Math tests, and the mediation role of Math-gender stereotypes and Math self- efficacy, while controlling for abstract reasoning, among high-school girls (H.S.), and university women majoring Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), and in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Among H.S. girls, data showed the expected indirect effect of Math gender stereotypes on Math achievement via Math self-efficacy. Among university students, model adjustment was less optimal. An unexpected positive relationship between hostile sexism and Math performance in STEM fields emerged. Out data suggest several mechanisms by which ideologies and gender stereotypes affect women´s Math performance.

Author Biographies

Vanessa Smith-Castro, Universidad de Costa Rica
Instittuo de Investigaciones Psicológicas. Escuela de Psicología. Universidad de Costa Rica
Eiliana Montero-Rojas, Universidad de Costa Rica

Instituto de Investigaciones Psicológicas. Escuela de Estadística. Universidad de Costa Rica

Tania Elena Moreira-Mora, Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica
Departamento de Orientación y Psicología. Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica
José Andrey Zamora-Araya, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica
Escuela de Matemática. Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica


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How to Cite
Smith-Castro, V., Montero-Rojas, E., Moreira-Mora, T. E., & Zamora-Araya, J. A. (2019). Expected and unexpected effects of sexism on women’s mathematics performance. Revista Interamericana De Psicologia/Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 53(1), 28-44. https://doi.org/10.30849/rip/ijp.v53i1.905