Women and Science
The Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in Mathematics, Science and
Engineering consists of different programs to attract and retain women in
the science professions. The project, which began in 1986, is under
implementation at Rutgers University’s Douglass College. Based on
mentoring and female support, the project includes science and math camps
as well as summer orientations on college life.
Educating for persistence
Interview with Ellen Mappen, director of Rutgers University's Douglass
Project for Rutgers Women in Math, Science and Engineering, which is a
multi-pronged effort to attract and retain female students in the science
fields. Mappen says she shaped the grant proposal that launched the
project out of her own experiences of sexual discrimination in the
academe. The program, which targets both high-school and college
students, has driven enrollment of math and science majors to more than
30% between 1988 and 1993.
A. Bunce, Educators urge parents to bolster girls’
interest in math and science
The difficulties encountered by young women with a budding interest in
science and math are noted. Many such women are discouraged in their
pursuits at an early age. Suggestions for parents who wish to encourage
their daughters to pursue science and math are provided
R. J. Burke and M. C. Matis, eds., Women and Minorities in Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Upping the Numbers. Edward Elgar Publishing, Northampton,
This is a broad collection of essays on women and minorities in the
STEM (science, technology, engineeering and mathematics) disciplines.
The book is divided into five sections. “Women and Minorities in STEM: The Big Picture” lays out the statistics and basic issues involved, including arguments for increasing diversity in technical and scientific fields, summaries of the obstacles that women and minorities face, and “action strategies” that can help mitigate these obstacles. “Experiences of Women and Minorities in STEM” presents studies describing the statistics and specific issues of five particular populations: female engineering students in the UK, female employees in US information-technology companies, African-American PhD candidates in the sciences, Israeli women in high-tech and scientific fields, and Asian Americans in science and engineering. The articles in this section vary widely in focus and style but offer a range of useful perspectives on different aspects of the representation issue. The latter three sections consider different segments of the career “pipeline.” “Building Interest and Commitment to STEM” focuses on girls of high-school age and the factors that affect their decisions to enter and remain in STEM fields. “Enriching the Educational Experience” discusses changes in undergraduate education that can encourage participation by female and minority students in math, science, and engineering. Finally, “Improving the Professional Experience” outlines efforts to support women in academic STEM departments and the engineering industry. Read a full review here.
A. Dembner, Women in math, science are studied
Review of the Wellesley Report entitled Pathway for Women in the Sciences
J. Fitzpatrick, Women’s Lives, Women’s Roles
“Women Who Dare(d) Project,” a yearlong celebration of women in the arts,
in mathematics, English, science, and physical education, is featured.
The program was begun by Amanda Wallner, a teacher at Adams Middle School
in Guilford CT
C. Kessel, Women in Mathematics: Change, Inertia, Stratification, Segregation
From the article: This chapter examines the participation of women in mathematics, focusing on academe. It begins with an overview of the international situation for graduate education in mathematics, illustrating national differences in proportions of female mathematics doctorates. These differences may be associated with national differences in gender segregation in all fields of study. Data collected within the US illustrate two other statistical phenomena: differences in proportions of women earning degrees and in academic departments, and stratification in professional awards and academic employment. These three phenomena are not unique to the US or to mathematics but the chapter draws many of its illustrations from the United States for several reasons. The US is among the major producers of PhDs in mathematics, its universities attract many of the world’s top mathematicians, and it collects extensive statistical information on women in mathematics and other scientific fields. Because the representation of women in mathematics and other fields varies by nation, the chapter concludes by discussing conditions associated with such variations.
O. Khazan, The More Gender Equality the Fewer Women in Science
This article reports on a study by Stoet and Geary (see abstract below) that appeared in Psychological Science in 2018. The study finds that in countries that empower women, those women are less likely to choose STEM careers.
E. Pollack, Why are there still so few women in science
Eileen Pollack was a Yale undergrad and was one of the first two women
at Yale to earn a bachelor’s degree in physics. She is now a celebrated author and professor
in the creative writing program at the University of Michigan. Professor Pollack reveals her reasons
for leaving math and science after Yale and speaks with many current students and faculty in the sciences
about their school and career struggles. Pollack is currently writing a book on women in the sciences.
P. Rayman and B. Brett, Pathways for women in the
sciences: The Wellesley report Part I
Pathways Report I is the first phase of a ground-breaking study addressing
why women choose to enter scientific fields and what promotes or impedes
their success. This longitudinal research project investigates women's
science trajectoriesfrom their undergraduate through graduate and early
E. Seymour, The loss of women from science, mathematics
and engineering undergraduate majors: an explanatory account
Women who manage to complete their studies in science, mathematics and
engineering generally have a strong career motivation and develop ways to
neutralize the hostility of their male peers. To overcome problems women
must be independently able to deflect attacks on their feelings of
self-worth. The science, mathematics and engineering undergraduate
programs have to encourage and accept female students.
L. Schiebinger, Has Feminism Changed Science?
Do women do science differently? And how about feminists--male or female?
The answers to these fraught questions, carefully set out in this
provocative book, will startle and enlighten every faction in the “science wars.”
G. Stoet and D. C. Geary, The Gender-Equity Paradox in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education
Has Feminism Changed Science? is at once a history of women in science
and a frank assessment of the role of gender in shaping scientific
Science is both a profession and a body of knowledge, and Londa Schiebinger
looks at how women have fared and performed in both instances. She first
considers the lives of women scientists, past and present. How many are
there? What sciences do they choose--or have chosen for them? Is the
professional culture of science gendered? And is there something uniquely
feminine about the science women do? Schiebinger debunks the myth that
scientists--because they are women--are somehow more holistic and
and create more cooperative scientific communities. At the same time, she
details the considerable practical difficulties that beset women in science
where long-term partnerships, children, and other demanding concerns can
women's (and increasingly men's) careers at risk.
But what about the content of science, the heart of Schiebinger’s
subject? Have feminist perspectives brought any positive changes to
scientific knowledge? Schiebinger provides a subtle and nuanced gender
analysis of the physical sciences, medicine, archeology, evolutionary
primatology, and developmental biology. She also shows how feminist
scientists have developed new theories, asked new questions, and opened new
fields in many of these areas.
From the article: The underrepresentation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is a continual concern for social scientists and policymakers. Using an international database on adolescent achievement in science, mathematics, and reading (N = 472,242), we showed that girls performed similarly to or better than boys in science in two of every three countries, and in nearly all countries, more girls appeared capable of college-level
STEM study than had enrolled. Paradoxically, the sex differences in the magnitude of relative academic strengths and pursuit of STEM degrees rose with increases in national gender equality. The gap between boys’ science achievement and girls’ reading achievement relative to their mean academic performance was near universal. These sex differences in academic strengths and attitudes toward science correlated with the STEM graduation gap. A mediation analysis suggested that life-quality pressures in less gender-equal countries promote girls’ and women’s engagement with STEM subjects.
J. Travis, Making room for women in the culture of science
A discussion of some programs for attracting and retaining women in