The present article investigates explanations for gendered trends in Physics and Engineering access, reporting findings from a large-scale study funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and drawing primarily on data from interviews with 132 15–16 year-old adolescents and their parents. Survey results in our study and elsewhere show strong gender disparities in anticipated pursuit of Physics after completion of compulsory education. In order to explore the constructions of gender and Physics underlying these trends, we focus on qualitative interview data, applying Foucaultian analysis of discourse to investigate gendered narratives underpinning adolescents’ and their parents’ articulations. This analysis reveals three key discourses at work on the topic of women’s access to Physics: (a) equality of opportunity, (b) continued gender discrimination in and around Physics, and (c) Physics as quintessentially masculine. We additionally identify five distinct narratives supporting the discourse of physics as masculine. These various discourses and narratives are interrogated, and their implications explored. We conclude that it is only by disrupting prevalent constructions of the Physical sciences as a masculine and “hard” domain will we increase the presence of women in the sector. Working with young people to analyse and deconstruct the discursive assumptions made in relation to gender and Physics, as well as further work to increase accessibility and broaden representation in Physics, may be fruitful ways to challenge these longstanding associations between Physics and masculinity.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 6, 2016
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera