Microaggressions, behaviors that can be nonverbal or verbal, can occur when individuals “communicate negative, hostile, and derogatory messages to people rooted in their marginalized group membership (based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality).” This statistic, according to the Institutional Transformation program at the University of New Hampshire,1 is in alignment with what researchers indicate regarding microaggressions, asserting that they can be “intentional or unintentional” can occur daily, and are unacknowledged (Making the Invisible Visible: Gender Based Microaggressions, n.d.).
We consider the various types of microaggressions, specifically those based on gender, and assess the effect it has on women in leadership roles in fields where women leaders are underrepresented. We consider their ability to lead efficiently, effectively and implement transformative change in the work environment, providing best practices for leaders to understand how to provide support. We also assess the impact gender based microaggressions have on well-being. While not new to the literary canon, gender based microaggressions at work are more nuanced and subtle as “considerable knowledge exists about blatant gender discrimination and violence targeting women”.2 Experienced by women in the workplace regardless of field or discipline, gender based microaggressions are also prevalent in the classroom and on graduate and undergraduate campuses.3 We focus on women in fields where female leadership is in areas of the STEM fields, including engineering, healthcare, and biomedical sciences. Implicit bias in both word and action is in direct relationship to the “gender disparity” in the STEM field4.
Bailey, Lilicia and Curry, April
"Leading and Mentoring Women in STEM: Mitigating Gender & Microaggressions,"
The Scholarship Without Borders Journal: Vol. 1:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/swbj/vol1/iss2/6