Inspire Her Mind
In 2010, the American Association of University Women released "Why So Few?
Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics" [pdf of full report
], a survey of available research on women in science. Among their findings:
--While women make up about half of bachelor's graduates in chemistry and earth sciences, and a majority of biology graduates, the ratio of women to men completing their degrees drops substantially for those fields at the doctorate level. The fields with the worst gender parity (engineering, physics, and computer science) stay relatively static--with women earning about 20% of such degrees, undergraduate or graduate.
--"Pajares (2005) found that gender differences in self-confidence in STEM subjects begin in middle school
and increase in high school and college, with girls reporting less confidence than boys do in their math and science ability."
designed an experiment around a fictitious skill called “contrast sensitivity ability.” In this experiment, participants were given evidence that contrast sensitivity ability (the ability to detect proportions of how much black and white appeared on a screen) was either an ability that men were more likely to have (male advantage or “MA” condition) or an ability that showed no gender difference (gender dissociated or “GD” condition)[...]Perhaps the most interesting finding from this study is that women and men held different standards for what constituted high ability in the MA condition. In the MA condition, women believed they had to earn a score of at least 89 percent to be successful, but men felt that a minimum score of 79 percent was sufficient to be successful—a difference of 10 percentage points. In the GD condition, women and men had much more similar ideas about how high their scores would have to be to assess themselves as having high task ability: women said they would need to score 82 percent, while men said they would need to score 83 percent (see figure 17). This finding suggests that women hold themselves to a higher standard than their male peers do in “masculine” fields.
--"The researchers found that when success in a male-type job was ambiguous, a woman was rated as less competent than an identically described man, although she was rated equally likable. When individuals working in a male-type job were clearly successful, however, women and men were rated as equally competent, but women were rated as less likable
and more interpersonally hostile (for example, cold, pushy, conniving)."
Wondering about the experiences of scientists outside the gender binary? Keep an eye on Queer in STEM
; preliminary demographics post