Professor’s new book redefines girlhood during Medieval, Renaissance era

Black woman reading book

Author and Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) Professor Deanne Williams investigates the overlooked roles of girls in theatre – and performing arts in general – from the 10th through 17th centuries in her new book Girl Culture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Performance and Pedagogy (Bloomsbury, 2023).

Williams’ research cites eyewitness testimony, stage directions, paintings and even records of payment to explore girls’ appearance in dramatic performances, as well as their contributions to writing and translating plays, singing, dancing and performing music. While previous histories of the actress have begun with the Restoration in 1660, this book charts this history all the way back to the Middle Ages.

Deanne Williams
Deanne Williams

Through its close analysis of plays from this time frame, as well as the broader cultural environments that produced them, Girl Culture demonstrates that girls were active and influential participants in dramatic culture, rather than passive observers.

“Girls have occupied a marginal role in theatre and cultural history, because of the assumption that performance was largely restricted to boys and men,” Williams explains. “But Girl Culture shows that they played an important role in medieval religious drama, Tudor pageants and royal entries, Elizabethan entertainments, and the Stuart court and household masque.

“My research shows that girlhood was a time of comparatively greater freedom for girls. Performing parts at home or in the schoolroom was a significant part of their education and they participated also in religious as well as civic performances. This book reveals medieval and early modern girlhood as a time of tremendous creativity and intellectual development,” she adds, before girls were “restricted by the expectations placed upon married women to run households and bear children.”

For over twenty years, Williams has devoted herself to research and redefining medieval and early modern girlhood. Her work includes staging readings of Jane Lumley’s Iphigeneia, the first-ever translation of the Greek drama into English, as well as Elizabeth Cary’s Tragedy of Mariam, the first female-authored original play (published in 1613), with Tom Bishop of the University of Auckland. With John Edwards, artistic director of the Musicians in Ordinary, she produced a podcast recording of Milton’s Comus and they are currently working with noted stage director Paul Hopkins on a film production of Elizabeth Brackley and Jane Cavendish’s play, The Concealed Fancies. With her colleague Bernice Neal and research assistant Asra Khonsari, Williams is also putting the finishing touches on a database called the Girls on Early English Stages (GEES) Project.

Girl Culture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Girl Culture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Performance and Pedagogy (2023) by Deanne Williams

Williams has also explored how even Shakespeare, whose plays were performed on an all-male stage, was influenced by girl culture and the participation of girls in the public sphere. In her previous study, Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood (2014), Williams devotes “entire chapters to Ophelia and Juliet, as well as to lesser-known girl characters, such as the Queen in Richard II.

In [that] book, I argue that girl characters are key to Shakespeare’s plays, and that Shakespeare’s ideas about girlhood developed over the course of his career and shaped our own ideas about girlhood today,” Williams says. “My new book, Girl Culture, takes a very different approach. Rather than exploring the influence of Shakespeare on girlhood, it locates the influence of girls on Shakespeare, whose lived experience of the girl actor, and girls’ significant cultural presence, shaped his conceptualization of girl characters such as Juliet, Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It, Marina in Pericles, and Emilia and the Jailer’s daughter in Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Two Noble Kinsmen.”

Among many other examples Williams hopes readers will be pleasantly surprised by, she highlights Anne Boleyn – whose life was marred by tragedy – as being a far more literary person than sordid histories tend to let on.

“[Boleyn’s] reputation was tarnished by Henry VIII, but her girlhood was bookish, pious and extremely musical,” she says. “I also think readers will be astonished to learn about Hrotswitha of Gandersheim, who wrote six Latin plays to match those of Latin comic playwright, Terence, in order to educate the girls of Gandersheim Abbey. I think she was horrified by what she found in Terence and wanted to provide her girl readers – and actors – with better role models.”

In her graduate and undergraduate teaching, Williams always seizes the chance to share the updated history that’s uncovered in Girl Culture and bring to light the seldom discussed influence on the arts by girls of a bygone era.

Lassonde students embody Women in Engineering Day

Josephine Morgenroth collecting data

From the Civil Engineering department at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, current student Peace Ikpotokin and recent graduate Josephine Morgenroth represent the intent of International Women in Engineering Day, celebrated annually in late June, to draw attention to women changing the face of engineering and the world’s future.

Peace Ikpotokin
Peace Ikpotokin

Ikpotokin, who is in the final year of her master’s degree at Lassonde, conducts research with Liam Butler, assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, focused on monitoring the distributed strain behaviour of two-way slabs produced with low-carbon concrete. The production of concrete poses a major problem for the world, accounting for 7 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions globally.

Ikpotokin’s research aims to find solutions to this growing issue with environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional concrete.

Josephine Morgenroth
Josephine Morgenroth

Morgenroth, who completed her PhD in civil engineering at Lassonde under the supervision of Associate Professor Matthew Perras and Associate Professor Usman Khan, researched combining disciplines of machine learning and rock engineering to predict geotechnical behaviour underground.

Contributing knowledge to an emerging field, her work aims to enhance the underground rock engineering design of structures such as tunnels, in a way that is useful for practical rock engineers.

Both graduates have garnered significant accolades. Ikpotokin has received the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) International Peace Scholarship, American Association of University Women (AAUW) Scholarship and numerous certificates acknowledging her leadership efforts. She is also a highly active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), an organization that empowers women to achieve their full potential in engineering. Morgenroth has been awarded the Professor Doug Stead PhD Thesis Award from the Canadian Rock Mechanics Association, NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship and Joan Bath Award for Advancement of Mineral Industry.

Ikpotokin and Morgenroth have made an impact too on the industry. Following her undergraduate studies, Ikpotokin began working in the industry as a site engineer, structural engineer and supervisor for various building and construction projects. Morgenroth works as technical services manager at digital mining company RockMass Technologies, supports clients by coordinating fieldwork and providing expertise to help implement solutions for rock engineering problems.

Together their efforts are indicative of a shift in the engineering field. Over the past decades, Canada has experienced its largest growth of women in post-secondary engineering programs and professions through the support of various organizations, events and campaigns addressing underrepresentation. However, with women making up a meagre 14 per cent of practicing engineers in Canada, there is still a need for improvement.

“There was actually a lot of women representation in grad school, but not so much in the mining industry,” Morgenroth says.

Ikpotokin agrees. “There is a low number of women in engineering, the gap is very clear,” she says. “It would be nice to have more peer support and female students. It’s really satisfying and empowering to work alongside other women.”

Despite the need of improvement, there are signs of progress – and hope. Both engineers credit the immense support they received from their Lassonde research and PhD supervisors to contribute pivotal knowledge to novel fields of research. Furthermore, Morgenroth is seeing change through companies like the one that employees her. “Our CEO is a woman of colour, and a lot of our team members are women too. We can talk about someone’s wedding at lunch, and then get into rock mechanics right after – it’s great.”

Looking to the future, it’s situations like hers that are important to highlight, which is why representatives like Morgenroth and Ikpotokin are so important. It’s also why Morgenroth ensures to use her platform to inspire and motivate women in engineering through various talks at Lassonde. “Representation is important in fields like engineering,” says Morgenroth. “Diversity breeds innovation and challenges people to think differently.”

Schulich research shows bias that favours male entrepreneurs

Two Black women sitting on a couch in conversation

New research by Schulich School of Business Associate Professor Ivona Hideg shows that women-led startups are evaluated less favourably than men-led startups because of “benevolent sexism” – a form of bias that undermines gender equity by giving greater advantages to men.

Ivona Hideg portrait
Ivona Hideg

The findings are contained in an article published recently in the journal Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. The article, titled “Benevolent Sexism and the Gender Gap in Startup Evaluation,” was co-authored by Hideg, the Ann Brown Chair in Organization Studies at Schulich, together with Nhu Nguyen, a PhD student in organizational behaviour at the Desautels Faculty of Management; Yuval Engel, associate professor of entrepreneurship at the Amsterdam Business School; and Frédéric Godart, associate professor of organizational behaviour at INSEAD.

According to the researchers, benevolent sexism undermines gender equity in startup evaluations by boosting men’s outcomes without directly harming women’s outcomes.

The researchers initially hypothesized that the more evaluators endorse benevolent sexism – perceiving women as gentle and fragile – the less they would perceive startups founded by women as viable. Counter to their hypothesis, the researchers didn’t find any effect of benevolent sexism on the evaluation of women-led startups. However, the more evaluators endorsed benevolent sexism, the more positively they evaluated men-led startups. In other words, benevolent sexism was advantaging evaluations of men’s startups while seemingly not affecting evaluations of women’s startups.

“We know that hostile sexist attitudes that link entrepreneurial savvy and competence with men but not women can harm women,” says Hideg. “But what’s revealing about these findings is that benevolent sexism can be just as counter productive. Benevolent sexism involves seemingly positive attitudes toward women, seeing them as warm, moral, refined, yet fragile and in need of protection from men. This type of sexism is socially acceptable and rarely seen as problematic.”

York ranks among top universities making global impact for positive change 

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings banner

By Ashley Goodfellow Craig, YFile editor

York University continues to stand out as a global leader in building a more just and sustainable future by driving positive change through the shared vision and collective actions of its faculty, course directors, staff, students, alumni and community partners.

The University is positioned among the world’s top 40 universities for advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings which measure how more than 1,500 universities work to address the most complex and compelling societal issues of our time.

The results of the rankings – the only global report of its kind – recognize York’s interdisciplinary research and innovation strengths in sustainability, inclusivity and equity that have earned the University placing in the top three per cent of universities in the world overall.

Work to advance the SDGs is rooted in the University Academic Plan as reflected in York’s vision to provide a broad demographic of students with access to high-quality education at a research-intensive University that is committed to enhancing the well-being of the communities it serves.

“York University continues to be recognized worldwide for its leadership in advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. York’s top 40 ranking is a testament to the ongoing commitment of our faculty, staff, students and instructors who have taken up the challenge outlined in our University Academic Plan to strengthen our impact,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “I am grateful to the entire York community for driving positive change and building a better future for everyone.”

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings considers factors such as research, stewardship, outreach and teaching to determine the rank for each institution. York’s position in the rankings speaks to its strong global standings in the SDGs, with nine of 17 ranked in the top 100. Learn more about the rankings here.

York’s commitment to answering the call to right the future reflects the dedication of faculty, instructors, staff, students and alumni to research, academic pursuits and campus initiatives that advance more inclusive, equitable and sustainable communities.

York community members are encouraged to update their email signatures with the latest rankings and see other ways to amplify this achievement by using this toolkit.

Dahdaleh Institute awards annual seed grants


Following its fourth annual Workshop on Critical Social Science Perspectives in Global Health Research, York University’s Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research awarded five researchers $5,000 seed grants to further develop grant proposals and research programs to carry out critical global health research.

All winners of the grants this year embody the critical social science perspectives in global health research that is representative of Dahdaleh’s three research themes: planetary health, global health and humanitarianism, as well as global health foresighting.

The recipients – largely representing the School of Global Health – and their projects are:

Syed Imran Ali, research Fellow in global health and humanitarianism, and Stephanie Gora, assistant professor in civil engineering, will explore community-based participatory water quality monitoring for safe water optimization in the Canadian North.

Chloe Clifford Astbury, postdoctoral researcher in the School of Global Health, will pursue mining, health and environmental change by using systems mapping to understand relationships in complex systems.

Godfred Boateng, assistant professor, director of the Global and Environmental Health Lab, and faculty Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute, is studying Black anxiety with an exploratory and intervention look at Black families with children in and out of the criminal justice system in Canada.

Ahmad Firas Khalid, faculty Fellow in the Faculty of Health, will use experiential simulation-based learning to increase students’ ability to analyze increasingly complex global health challenges through a mixed methods study.

Gerson Luiz Scheidweiler Ferreira, a postdoctoral Fellow at Dahdaleh will examine how to break barriers to sexual and reproductive health by empowering Venezuelan refugee women in Brazil’s resettlement process.

2023 Critical Perspectives in Global Health Research banner

In keeping with the overall mission of Dahdaleh’s Critical Perspectives in Global Health’s (CPGH), these projects will seek to create greater effectiveness, equity and excellence in global health. The recipients of the seed grant share that in common with many of the projects presented at the Global Health Research Workshop earlier this year, which highlighted research looking at a broad range of issues.

Those included:

  • medical waste management practices in Accra, Ghana since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, presented by Jeffrey Squire, faculty member in the Department of Social Science;
  • the role of social media and how negative sentiments or misinformation contributes to vaccine hesitancy, presented by Blessing Ogbuokiri, postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics;
  • health-care inequity in post-slavery societies with a specific focus on Quilombolas populations, presented by Simone Bohn, associate professor in Department of Politics;
  • misoprostol and its use in providing reproductive health care during humanitarian emergencies, presented by Maggie MacDonald, associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Anthropology; and
  • Indigenous Williche peoples acts of ecological repair and how it contributes to planetary health in the past, present and future, presented by Pablo Aránguiz, associate researcher with Young Lives Research Lab at York.

Watch a full recording of the workshop here.

For more information about CPGH, visit its project page.

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Next Generation Lecture Series focuses on Reckonings & Re-Imaginings

Scott Library Atrium

By Elaine Smith

A new lecture series that lines up with the Congress 2023 theme Reckonings & Re-Imaginings is set to feature four thought-provoking talks from early career, pre-tenure researchers at York.

Assistant Professors – Desirée de Jesus of communication & media studies; Kinnon MacKinnon of the School of Social Work; Yvonne Su of equity studies; and Cary Wu of sociology – will each spend four to six minutes showcasing their work on a digital kiosk in the Scott Library.

“These are snapshots,” said Ravi de Costa, LA&PS associate dean, research & graduate studies. “Each researcher’s video features one particular story from their work and offers a window into their larger research program, representing their field, and the methods and questions they ask.

“And when you take all four together, even though they are addressing different subjects, it shows what we mean when we say York is committed to social justice, to equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Research by de Jesus focuses on how Black Canadian girls develop a sense of cultural belonging; MacKinnon draws attention to the growing phenomenon of gender detransition and what that means in terms of our understanding of gender and care. Su explores the challenges, such as homophobia and gender violence, that LGBTQ+ asylum seekers experience in the Global South, while Wu considers how high inflation is a critical determinant of health and health inequality.

There will also be a visible QR code within the kiosk display that takes viewers to a website featuring more in-depth information about the faculty members’ individual research.

“York has such creative depth and expertise in the social sciences and humanities, so this is a moment of celebration and recognition,” de Costa said. “The call for community programming for Congress 2023 is a wonderful opportunity to make these strengths more visible.”

Victoria Stacey, LA&PS senior communications specialist, has been involved in producing the videos and is enthusiastic about the finished products.

“Each researcher makes a complex topic extremely accessible,” she said. “They have demonstrated how research can be explained well.”

De Costa noted that it’s essential to understand that the insights of scholarly research can be valuable not just to academics but to everyone. “We need to communicate our work in different ways, in the places and forms that people live and work and congregate.”

York University and the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences will host Congress 2023 from May 27 to June 2Register here to attend, community passes are available and term dates have been adjusted to align with timelines for this year’s event.

Congress 2023 screens Indigenous-focused films

film camera

By Elaine Smith

A group of female directors will bring their Indigenous-focused films to York’s Keele Campus during Congress 2023 in late May.

Both conference attendees and the general public will have the opportunity to see the works of Ange Loft, Martha Stiegman, Angele Alook and Paulette Moore free of charge as part of the conference’s community programming. They touch on a variety of issues and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including reduced inequalities, life on land and gender equality.

Loft, a multidisciplinary artist, and Stiegman, an associate professor in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC), are part of Jumblies Theatre & Arts’ Talking Treaties project which is produced By These Presents: “Purchasing” Toronto and screens on May 28. The piece was created to explore the treaty negotiations between the colonizing British and the Mississaugas of the Credit, for the land the City of Toronto now occupies. Afterward, Amar Bhatia, co-director of Osgoode Hall’s Intensive Program in Indigenous Lands, Resources and Governments, will facilitate a discussion with members of the creative team.

“Using archival records and minutes of the treaty negotiations, we see the underhanded calculus and fraudulent means used to acquire Mississauga lands,” says Stiegman. “It [the film] uses sardonic humour as sugar on the medicine of truth to draw people in and engage them in a different way of learning about history so they don’t feel like they are doing homework.”

Alook, assistant professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies brings her work, pîkopayin (It Is Broken), to the screen on May 27. Part of the Just Powers project on energy transition and environmental and social justice, the film looks at the impacts of resource extraction on the community of Bigstone Cree Nation in Alberta, Alook’s home territory, which sits amidst the oil sands in the boreal forest. It documents traditional land users’ practices such as hunting, harvesting, and land-based teaching, while talking to the residents about their visions of the future on these lands.

The final films, VeRONAka and Rahyne, screen on June 1 and are followed by a panel discussion moderated by director Paulette Moore, an EUC PhD student, filmmaker and owner of The Aunties Dandelion media organization. VeRONAka is a 10-minute live-action fictional film, both humorous and serious, that explores the true story of how a Mohawk clan mother gave COVID-19 a Mohawk name, personifying the out-of-control virus. Once a person is in relationship with the virus, they can understand why it is here and ask it to leave. Rahyne is a short, animated film about an Afro-Indigenous non-binary teen whose identity is united through two water spirits. Moore will talk with Rahyne’s co-directors Queen Kukoyi and Nico Taylor about how film can help explore concepts of identity and naming. 

York University and the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences will host Congress 2023 from May 27 to June 2. Register here to attend; community passes are available and term dates have been adjusted to align with timelines for this year’s event.

Faculty of Health targets anxiety with support from Beneva

York researcher Lora Appel demonstrates a VR headset during a recent TO Health gathering

Four innovative and community-focused Faculty of Health studies will shed new light on anxiety, thanks to an investment in York University mental health researchers by Beneva, the largest mutual insurance company in Canada.

The $200,000 Anxiety Research Fund, powered by Beneva, aims to enhance assessment and treatment supports for individuals coping with anxiety – a debilitating and frequently hidden affliction experienced by one in five Canadians.

“Anxiety prevention is the main focus that guides Beneva’s social and philanthropic action nationwide,” notes Beneva President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois Chalifoux. “We are proud to have teamed up with York University to create the Anxiety Research Fund, dedicated entirely to accelerating research which will have an immediate and positive impact on the community, bringing new insight and change around this important issue.”

“York’s partnership with Beneva will have lasting benefits, not only for individuals struggling with anxiety, but for society as a whole,” says Faculty of Health Dean David Peters. “Through strategic collaboration with their community partners on these projects, our researchers will ensure their findings are used to address one of the most critical mental health issues today: anxiety.”

Four projects were selected for funding through a competitive application process led by the Faculty of Health Research Office.

Exposure Therapy Using Virtual Reality
Lora Appel (image: Sophie Kirk)
Lora Appel (image: Sophie Kirk)

With her team in York’s PrescribingVRx lab, School of Health Policy & Management Professor Lora Appel is using virtual reality technology to pilot an Exposure Therapy program focused on anxiety experienced by people with epilepsy. Project participants have identified common anxiety-provoking themes, which will be recreated virtually into 360-degree videos.

After conducting randomized trials in a controlled environment at Toronto Western Hospital, the study will move into the community (recruiting through Epilepsy Toronto), where therapy can be administered in people’s homes. While the results are expected to have a direct impact on people with epilepsy, the researchers also envision applications to others who suffer from anxiety.

Retooling Black Youth Anxiety
Godfred Boateng

Headed by School of Global Health Professor Godfred Boateng, who is director, Global & Environmental Health Lab and Faculty Fellow, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, this project will address anxiety and mental health issues of Black youth and their families, resulting from encounters with the criminal justice system and the child welfare system.

Partnerships with the Ghana Union of Canada (GUC) and Gashanti Unity (GU) will play a critical role in implementing this project to their communities. Researchers will recruit participants, identify key needs and work with clinical professionals to provide interventions. An online resource centre and sensitization programs aimed at improving the mental well-being of Black individuals and Black families will be created.

Reducing Anxiety About HPV Tests
Catriona Buick
Catriona Buick

A School of Nursing project led by Professor Catriona Buick focuses on anxiety that is anticipated in response to upcoming revisions to Ontario’s Cervical Screening Guidelines. In other countries, anxiety has been minimized by introducing evidence-based communications with patients around Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer.

The project will assess whether an infographic education intervention about primary HPV testing can decrease anxiety and increase understanding and acceptance of the upcoming changes to existing screening guidelines. The intent is to manage anxiety, dispel myths and misconceptions, normalize HPV, and improve acceptance of primary HPV testing for routine cervical cancer screening.

Decision-making in a Global Health Crisis
Shayna Rosenbaum
Shayna Rosenbaum

This project will investigate how mental health issues can interfere with people’s compliance with important public health measures – such as mask wearing and vaccination – during a global pandemic. The team, led by Department of Psychology Professor Shayna Rosenbaum, studies “delay discounting” (undervaluing or discounting future benefits when making health decisions).

The researchers will seek methods to reduce anxiety and optimize decision-making during global crises. Their findings will inform action by the Public Health Agency of Canada on the wider impact of COVID-19 and which sectors of society to target through technical briefing.

Thanks to Beneva, the Anxiety Research Fund in the Faculty of Health aims to support critical, community-focused projects to better identify, manage and help reduce the manifestations of anxiety.

Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion launches new REDDI series

Equity, diversity, inclusion

In view of the upcoming launch of York University’s Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (DEDI) Strategy, the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (REI) is offering a curated list of summer REDDI sessions, covering a wide range of topics to ensure University community members are prepared to address systemic inequities.

In furthering the goals of the York University Academic Plan and the DEDI Strategy, the Rights, Equity, Diversity, Decolonization & Inclusion (REDDI) certificate workshop sessions are designed to provide opportunities for community members to learn, reflect upon and discuss ways to contribute to an equitable academic environment. Each session will run for approximately 90 minutes and will be offered virtually, to facilitate the attendance of participants on and off campus.

All students, staff and faculty are invited to attend REDDI workshops running from the beginning of June to mid-August. The series will kick off Pride month with a session on building positive spaces on campus and in the workplace. Sessions on bias, microaggressions, organizational change and employment equity will be offered for those interested in completing a full-length certificate, and the popular mini-series workshops will also be offered, which cover topics including challenging ableism, addressing racism and dialogues across difference. The series also features a new French session on ableism called “Démanteler le capacitisme : Briser les barrières à l’accès et l’inclusion.”

Participants who complete three full-length workshops will receive a REDDI series certificate. The 2023 summer workshops are also an opportunity for participants to attend and add on to their requirements for the REDDI mini-series certificates.

REDDI mini-series workshops also offer certificates of completion. For certificates to be awarded following a mini-series, three mini-series workshops plus one full-length workshop must be attended.

Registration for these workshops is required and can be accessed through the YULearn Learning Opportunities website. To learn more about York’s new DEDI strategy, click here.

How non-native English accents undermine women at work

Group of women professionals posed boldly in office setting, stock image

New research from professors at York University’s Schulich School of Business shows that women with non-native accents often get pushed into traditionally feminine jobs with lower pay and prestige, even when sufficiently qualified.

The findings are contained in an article published recently in the Psychology of Women Quarterly. The article titled “Women With Mandarin Accent in the Canadian English-Speaking Hiring Context: Can Evaluations of Warmth Undermine Gender Equity?” was co-authored by Ivona Hideg, associate professor and Ann Brown Chair in Organization Studies, and Winny Shen, associate professor of organization studies, both at Schulich, together with Samantha Hancock, an assistant professor in the DAN Department of Management & Organizational Studies at Western University.

Ivona Hideg and Winny Shen

Past research has broadly found that people with non-native accents are seen as less competent, but this research has generally been focused on men with non-native accents. Hideg, Hancock and Shen wanted to specifically examine whether women’s experiences in speaking with a non-native accent, and the bias they face, diverge from the prior documented experiences of men.

The team noted that a lack of consideration of women’s unique experiences at work mirrors broader trends in the natural and social sciences, where men are often perceived as the default or standard among research participants.

“Our findings indicate that women with a non-native accent associated with a more gender-traditional country face subtle biases that are difficult to recognize as bias and hence difficult to address,” says Hideg.

“Although on the surface it may seem that women with non-native accents experience advantages in hiring due to perceptions of warmth, our research shows that they are likely to be stereotyped and funneled into less prestigious positions,” she adds.