Women in academia receive fewer prestigious awards than their male counterparts. Why this gender gap emerges, however, remains poorly understood. Thus, we tested multiple hypotheses about the proximate cause of the gender gap in award prestige. Our findings suggest that the gender gap in award prestige may emerge in part from gender schemas that portray women as warmer and less competent than men. Specifically, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that gender schemas lead to women’s papers receiving fewer citations than men’s papers, which in turn results in more prestigious awards for men than for women. Additionally, our results suggest that gender disparities in awards and citations may reinforce each other. Practical implications for promoting gender equality in academic awards are discussed.