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Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Exeter

Dr Renata Bongiorno is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on an ERC funded project: Context, Identity & Choice: Understanding the Constraints on Women’s Career Decisions at the University of Exeter in England.

Renata received her Ph.D. from the Australian National University, with a focus on gender inequality and social change. She found evidence for a new form of prejudice towards women who are tentative, rather than assertive, in leader roles. Prejudice towards tentative women (i.e., greater dislike, lower influence when compared to equivalent men) is likely to reflect cultural shifts towards valuing strong women, and may be more difficult to address because it appears fair.

Before joining the University of Exeter in 2017, Renata was employed in a number of research roles in Australia, including at The University of Queensland to examine biases that impede the prosecution of men's sexual violence against women, and by Melbourne Business School to examine why people are reluctant to use flexible-workplace policies designed to address workplace inequality.

In addition to published research on prejudice towards women in leadership, Renata has published research examining how groups to advance social causes (e.g., action on climate change, action to support gender equality) are formed, and biases that limit just outcomes in response to men's sexual harassment and assault of women.

Some of Renata's ongoing projects include examining processes important to mobilising men’s action in support of gender equality, updating and expanding understandings of gender stereotype content and implications for men's versus women's perceived suitability for leadership, and paradoxical effects of individual empowerment as an avenue for promoting gender equality.

Renata's research has received broad media coverage, including by BBC, The Independent, Forbes, The Huffington Post, New Scientist, and The Sydney Morning Herald.


  • 2017–present
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Exeter
  • 2010–present
    Honorary Research Fellow, The University of Queensland


  • 2010 
    Australian National University, PhD/Psychology
  • 2002 
    Australian National University, BA (First Class Honours in Psychology)