Gender Bias Scale for Women Leaders

The Gender Bias Scale for Women Leaders is a 47-item measure of how women leaders in fields such as higher education, faith-based organizations and healthcare perceive and experience gender bias. It has 6 higher order factors - Male privilege, Disproportionate constraints, Insufficient support, Devaluation, Hostility and Acquiescence - and 15 lower-order factors.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female

Age Range:


Male privilege
1. I have been asked to do a job that everyone knew was likely to fail.
2. I have been held responsible for organizational problems outside of my control.
3. Women in my organization seem to be given leadership roles with a high risk of failure.
4. In my organization, there is pressure to conform to gender stereotypes.
5. People in my organization assume that top leaders will be men.
6. The decisions in my organization are made by men.
7. The "boys' club" mentality is present in my workplace.
8. Even though my spouse/partner does not work for my organization, s/he is expected to host events.
9. My organization expects spouses/partners of senior leaders to contribute as unpaid volunteers.
10. My organization vets spouses/partners of senior leaders as part of the hiring process.

Disproportionate constraints
11. I am mindful of my communication approach when exercising authority at work.
12. I wait to be acknowledged prior to speaking in a meeting.*
13. I am cautious when self-promoting at work.*
14. I downplay my accomplishments when speaking to others.*
15. I chose my field of study because it was considered suitable for women.
16. I would have chosen a different field of study but it was considered inappropriate for women.
17. Growing up I was encouraged to pursue certain careers that were appropriate for women.
18. My ideas seem more likely to be taken seriously when a man repeats them.
19. My job performance has been scrutinized more closely than that of my male colleagues.
20. As a woman I am expected to be nurturing at work.
21. I work harder than my male colleagues for the same credibility.

Insufficient support
22. I feel welcome while attending social events with my male colleagues.*(R)
23. Male colleagues socialize without me.*
24. I have been excluded from leadership events (e.g., off-sites, retreats) because of my gender.*
25. I have received significant mentoring.(R)
26. I have had a female mentor.(R)
27. I have had to learn how to lead on my own.
28. Other leaders have recommended me for advancement opportunities.(R)
29. I have had another leader sponsor me for promotion.(R)

30. At work, I am interrupted by men when I am speaking.*
31. When I am the only woman in a meeting, I find it difficult to gain support for my ideas.*
32. It is taken for granted when I help my male colleagues with their responsibilities.*
33. My efforts at creating harmony at work are noticed.(R)
34. I have made less money than my male counterparts.
35. I have made less money than men who have held my position prior to me.

36. I have had opportunities blocked by other women at work.
37. Women in higher positions have made my job more difficult.
38. High-level women in my organization protect their turf.
39. High-level women in my organization help other women succeed.(R)
40. I have experienced verbal abuse at work.
41. The behavior of my male coworkers has sometimes made me feel uncomfortable.
42. I have been sexually harassed at work.

43. I speak up about challenges women face at work.*(R)
44. I advocate for women's rights at work.*(R)
45. It requires the encouragement of others for me to accept a new opportunity.*
46. I have turned down a promotion because I felt unqualified.
47. My personal obligations have prevented me from pursuing opportunities for advancement at work.

Response Options:
5-point Likert scale
Strongly disagree
Strongly agree

Response Options for items with *:
Scale from Never to Always

(R)Items are reverse scored

Scoring Procedures

Not Available

Original Citation

Diehl, A. B., Stephenson, A. L., Dzubinski, L. M., & Wang, D. C. (2020). Measuring the invisible: Development and multi‐industry validation of the Gender Bias Scale for Women Leaders. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 31(3), 249-280.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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