Looking Behind the Gender Gap in Science Essay

Looking Behind the Gender Gap in Science Essay

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The sexism-laden stereotype that Science is a “male” field in which men are better than women has existed since the dawn of time. Women used to be prohibited to even enter a university building, let alone to be involved in academic activities . Nowadays, however, men and women are ensured fairly equal chances to pursue career and education they desire. The myth that girls are innately worse in Science has been long since debunked, and gender differences and segregation have gradually disappeared from many academic setting, especially in developed parts of the world.
However, this does not seem to go hand in hand with how women are currently being portrayed in Science. Despite many efforts done to balance the scale, young women are generally very underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields of study and labor markets. UNESCO’s Institute for Statistic (2012), for instance, reported that the representation of women in Science research is less than 50% in nearly all regional, with the highest being in Latin America and The Caribbean where females comprise 45,2% of the researchers. Not to mention that since the Nobel Prize was established in 1901, from 853 Nobel laureates, only 44 of them are female. With women being half of the world’s population, this fact suggests a gap that is interesting to be investigated.
An even more interesting finding was reported in Vansteenkiste, Soenens, Sierens, Luyckx, & Lens (2009) about a correlation between autonomous motivation and gender. They claimed that female students tend to show ‘a more adaptive academic pattern of functioning’; they are less likely to procrastinate and cheat, are more efficient in using time and environment, and tend to obtain higher grades t...


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...pational choices. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 585-609.

Osborne, J., Simon, S., & Collins, S. (2003). Attitudes towards science: a review of the literature and its implications. International Journal of Science Education, 25(9), 1049-1079.

San Roman, A.G & Goiricilaya, S. 2012. “Gender Gap in PISA Test Scores: The Impact of Social Norms and The Mother’s Transmission of Role Attitudes.” IZA Discussion paper no. 6338, February 2012.

Schreiner, C., & Sjøberg, S. (2007). Science education and youth's identity construction - two incompatible projects? In: D. Corrigan, J. Dillon, and R. F. Gunstone (eds.). The Re-Emergence of Values in Science Education (pp. 231-248). Rotterdam, Sense.

Vansteenkiste, M, et al. (2009). Motivational Profiles From a Self-Determination Perspective: The quality of motivation matters. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 671-688.

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