Abstract for: Gender segregation dynamics: Women participation and performance in competitive chess in the Netherlands

Equality and diversity within society is vital for social justice, and contributes to societal progress and to organizational and economic performance. Yet, gender and other inequality persist throughout societies, appearing in different forms and configurations. To analyse dynamics of persistent gendered segregation, this paper leverages the empirical context of competitive chess. I examine the interactive gender-related dynamics, including the role of players’ decisions about their participation, commitment, and dropout, and of their performance, within the broader co-evolving world-of-chess environment from which the problems arise. I compile a quantitative spatiotemporal dataset (1994-2018) on the participation and performance of over 40,000 individual members within the Dutch chess Federation (KNSB), combining this with elite-player interviews, an integrative literature review, and computation and simulation. The present analysis suggests the centrality of multiple endogenous social-influence processes (involving peers, role models, and the broader community) strongly reinforcing any fixed societal biases such those resulting from gendered role expectations. Early findings on high leverage desegregation policies point the requirement of a broad set of interventions with long commitment.