The United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) opened its 2018 session on March 12 with a panel of experts that featured William Paterson University Psychology Professor Elizabeth Haines, PhD. Hosted in New York City by the Netherlands, the panel focused on gender stereotyping – why people do it, why it is a problem, and how to fight it.
Haines, a social and personality psychologist, is known internationally for her research on social perception, unconscious bias and implicit measurement. For 20 years, she has investigated how, when, and why people socially categorize others -- on the basis of gender, race, parental status, age, and attractiveness -- and the consequences of such on social interaction. Haines has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles on stereotyping and unconscious bias.
“I was honored to be on a superstar panel of thoughtful, smart, fun scholars from Singapore, the Netherlands, and France,” Haines says, also paying credit to the “gracious” audience and its thought-provoking questions and comments. “To be in a room of people who will go out and effect the change I always hope for in my research? That is the best reward any social scientist can ever hope for. I am so appreciative.”
During the standing-room-only session, attended by hundreds of change leaders from around the globe, Haines cited her own collaborative research to explain how gender stereotypes haven’t changed in 30 years (Haines, Deaux, and Lofaro, 2016); how women are expected to bear the burden of the remembering, planning and organizing in the home at the potential expense of their professional engagement (Ahn, Haines, and Mason, 2017, and Moulton, Ahn, Haines, and Mason, forthcoming); and how men are stigmatized in caregiving roles when they appear to be shirking their breadwinning roles (Stroessner, Haines, and Lemoncelli, forthcoming).
Her research is supported by William Paterson University and conducted with the aid of student co-researchers in the University’s social cognition lab, where Haines serves as director. Of the aforementioned coauthors, Janet Ahn is also a psychology professor at William Paterson University, and both Ashley Lemoncelli and Nicole Lofaro are 2014 graduates of the University who were mentored by Haines during their time here.
The CSW is the principal global body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Its 62nd session, taking place at what the UN calls “a pivotal moment for the rights of women and girls,” is chaired by Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN.
On March 14, as part of the CSW’s docket of events, Haines heads to the Dutch Embassy to contribute to a roundtable discussion with members of the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science.
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