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Trapped in the gender stereotype? The image of science among secondary school students and teachers

Trapped in the gender stereotype? The image of science among secondary school students and teachers Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the gender stereotype of science by analysing the semantic attributes of gender in relation to three science subjects – chemistry, mathematics, and physics – among students and their science teachers. Design/methodology/approach – This cross-sectional study applied a survey of 3,045 students and 123 teachers in secondary schools. The gendered image of science was assessed using a semantic differential consisting of 25 pairs of adjectives with semantically opposite meanings. Findings – In summary, the results of the study demonstrate that from the female students’ perspective mathematics and physics are negatively related to female gender, whereas chemistry is neither significantly related to the male nor to the female profile. From the male students’ point of view mathematics is negatively related to the female gender, whereas chemistry and physics are positively related to the male gender. In the science teachers’ perception chemistry and physics combine feminine and masculine attributes, whereas the teachers’ perception of mathematics matches only with the male, but not with the female gender. Originality/value – In contrast to previous research, the study is the first to analyse the gender stereotype of chemistry as well as to assess the gender image of three science subjects from students’ and teachers’ perspectives. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

Trapped in the gender stereotype? The image of science among secondary school students and teachers

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2040-7149
DOI
10.1108/EDI-11-2013-0097
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the gender stereotype of science by analysing the semantic attributes of gender in relation to three science subjects – chemistry, mathematics, and physics – among students and their science teachers. Design/methodology/approach – This cross-sectional study applied a survey of 3,045 students and 123 teachers in secondary schools. The gendered image of science was assessed using a semantic differential consisting of 25 pairs of adjectives with semantically opposite meanings. Findings – In summary, the results of the study demonstrate that from the female students’ perspective mathematics and physics are negatively related to female gender, whereas chemistry is neither significantly related to the male nor to the female profile. From the male students’ point of view mathematics is negatively related to the female gender, whereas chemistry and physics are positively related to the male gender. In the science teachers’ perception chemistry and physics combine feminine and masculine attributes, whereas the teachers’ perception of mathematics matches only with the male, but not with the female gender. Originality/value – In contrast to previous research, the study is the first to analyse the gender stereotype of chemistry as well as to assess the gender image of three science subjects from students’ and teachers’ perspectives.

Journal

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 9, 2015

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