Women in male-dominated occupations report negative workplace social climates, whereas most men in female-dominated occupations report positive workplace social climates. Using a laboratory experiment mimicking the negative workplace social climates experienced by these token women, the author examines whether women are more sensitive to negative workplace social climates than men are or if, instead, men and women react similarly. Using salivary cortisol, the author finds that token men and token women are equally likely to exhibit a physiological stress response to social exclusion on the basis of gender. A second experiment shows that token men and token women who are socially included do not exhibit physiological stress response. Findings imply that (1) social exclusion on the basis of gender may be associated with physiological stress response and consequent negative health outcomes and (2) combined social-structural and social-interactional components of token women’s workplace climates would be stressors to both men and women workers.
Taylor, Catherine J. 2016. “Relational by Nature? Men and Women Do Not Differ in Physiological Response to Social Stressors Faced by Token Women.” American Journal of Sociology 122(1):49-89.