Here, by analysing performance during a cognitive test, we provide evidence that females are better able to sustain their performance during a test across all of these topics, including math and science,” Balart and Oosterveen state. This instrument is based on the original scale (Osgood et al., 1957) which was initially adapted to the German language by Hofstätter (1973) and then validated in Switzerland in two studies on the gender stereotype of school subjects (Herzog et al., 1998; Makarova and Herzog, 2015). Overall, one sixth of all students aspired to having a STEM major (16.6%). New York, NY: Routledge. Gottfredson's theory of circumscription, compromise, and self-creation. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.1994.tb01049.x, Eccles, J. S., and Wigfield, A. (2013). Teach. J. Vocat. Career Choice Dev. The development of children's gender-science stereotypes: a meta-analysis of 5 decades of US draw-a-scientist studies. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Swiss National Science Foundation for financial support of the study Gender atypical careers of young women (Grant no. Educ. Furthermore, research on gender stereotypes has revealed that science is not only associated with a male person, but that masculine traits are also attributed to it. Math. How to Close the Gender Gap in STEM Patenting Brad Anderson / 25 Feb 2019 / Lead / Tech A lack of diversity among product design teams has … Why high school students do not like math and science. In educational tracks at the universities of applied science, with only 21.3% of women enrolled in STEM courses in academic year 2017–2018. doi: 10.1007/s11199-013-0296-x, Cundiff, J. L., Vescio, T. K., Loken, E., and Lo, L. (2013). In order to avoid response bias, the semantic differential of the subject was introduced at the beginning of the questionnaire and the semantic differential of the term man at the end of the questionnaire. All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication. Available online at: (accessed December 1, 2018). Stuttgart: Kröner. Soc. Res. Closing the Gap. Aeschlimann, B., Herzog, W., and Makarova, E. (2015). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: the implicit association test. Gender diversity in the STEM fields is seriously lacking, with UNESCO statistics reporting that women account for only 28.8% of the world’s researchers. *Correspondence: Elena Makarova,, Front. The semantic differential is one of the most popular techniques of explicit attitude assessment (Millon et al., 2003). Agentic traits are associated with success in science more than communal traits. Birth cohort change in the vocational interests of female and male college students. U. S. A.106, 10593–10597. If girls develop weaker preferences for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), it can contribute to macrolevel gender inequalities in income and status. Makarova, E., Aeschlimann, B., and Herzog, W. (2016b). doi: 10.1080/00224540903366552. There were no significant differences in the attribution of masculinity to chemistry and physics. Among young men, only math was rated as highly masculine among those students who had chosen a non-STEM study program. Given that previous research has often focused on gender-science stereotypes of science in general or on stereotypical beliefs about single STEM disciplines, our study contributes to previous research by simultaneously analyzing the gender stereotype of different school science subjects—chemistry, math, and physics—among female and male students. The procedure modeled the choice of a STEM study major as the response category, with all other study fields as the reference category (non-STEM). Likewise, a study among students and faculty reported that agentic traits are more strongly associated with success in science than communal traits, discouraging women from pursuing a science career (Ramsey, 2017). Educ. Since stereotypic representations in textbooks have an effect on male and female secondary school students' understanding of and anxiety about science (Good et al., 2010), an effort needs to be made to overcome stereotypical gender representations in textbooks at all educational levels. (2018). The interaction effect between two factors school subject and students' sex was non-significant F(2, 1, 355) = 2.34, p = ns. doi: 10.1007/s11218-013-9232-8, Cvencek, D., Meltzoff, A. N., and Greenwald, A. G. (2011). Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik online. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.6.1464, Hand, S., Rice, L., and Greenlee, E. (2017). Educ. Eagly, A. H., and Wood, W. (2012). Drawing a scientist: what we do and do not know after fifty years of drawings. Our findings have some implications for overcoming the gender disparities in STEM. Child. In addition, a meta-analysis of two major international data sets—“Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study” (TIMMS) and the “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA)—has confirmed that gender equity in education is important not only for girls' math achievement but also for girls' self-confidence and valuing of mathematics (Else-Quest et al., 2010). doi: 10.1002/sce.3730670213, Charles, M., and Bradley, K. (2009). Acad. With regard to sex, the percentage of female students (54.1%) was somewhat higher than that of male students (45.9%). The reason is the very broad age-range of students (K-12) across reported studies, lack of comparison of gender stereotypes of different school subjects within one study, different methodology (explicit and implicit assessment) used to assess gender stereotypes of science, as well as the time span between findings of different studies. We aggregated the masculinity index for math and the two science subjects for the model of female students, because separate models showed nearly the same effect for each individual subject, and therefore we could increase the power of the model in terms of cases. According to a new study, 91 percent of women who work in STEM admitted that gender discrimination remains a career obstacle. Fortunately, some light can be seen in the darkness. 89, 1943–1955. Deaux, K., and LaFrance, M. (1998). doi: 10.1007/s11165-011-9230-9, Koenig, A. M., and Eagly, A. H. (2014). Front. Spezial 12, Berufsorientierung im Lebenslauf – theoretische Standortbestimmungen und empirische Analysen [Career orientation in the life course - theoretical approaches and empirical analyses], 1–19. The overall model yielded an F ratio of F(5, 1, 355) = 15.83, p ≤ 0.001. (2010) suggest that proximal factors such as quality of teaching mediate the effect of gender inequality on math achievement. Motivational beliefs, values, and goals. OECD (2012). J. Educ. 114, 924–976. Researchers say such hands-on programs could help reduce the gender gap in STEM fields. Table 3. Boca Ration, FL: CRC Press. Psychol. The Measurement of Meaning. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2004.05.006. A., Smyth, F. L., Sriram, N., Lindner, N. M., Devos, T., Ayala, A., et al. Studies show that girls are just as good at STEM subjects as boys. The effects of gender stereotypic and counter-stereotypic textbook images on science performance. Moreover, on the basis of the occupational aspirations of 15-year-old adolescents, the prognosis for change in gender-based disparities in occupational and academic choices suggests that gender segregation in the education and labor market will remain persistent (OECD, 2017). Thus, further research on the perception of masculinity of chemistry, math, and physics among school students is needed to gain deeper insight into the impact of the gender stereotypes of science subjects on STEM-career aspirations. In this process, the gender image of an occupation is especially crucial for career choice, because the “wrong” sex type of an occupation is more fundamental to self-concept than the prestige of an occupation or individual interests. Soc. According to our findings, math is most strongly perceived as a masculine subject among female and male secondary school students, followed by physics and then chemistry, which has the weakest masculine connotations. With regard to the sex differences in the attribution of masculinity, our analysis of variance yielded significant differences between female and male students F(1, 1, 355) = 63.20, p ≤ 0.001. Accordingly, the masculinity index expresses the differentiation between high masculinity (low discrepancy between the profiles man and subject; max. Educ. Gender Gap in STEM Education Continues Despite Appeal of High Wage Careers, Strong Job Growth Rate. The persistence of horizontal gender segregation in educational and occupational fields contributes decisively to the spread of gender-stereotypic beliefs about a natural fit of women in careers in more expressive and human-centered fields and men in technical and math-intensive fields (Charles and Bradley, 2009). On the basis of these data we calculated a masculinity index by subtracting the 25 items of the man profile from the corresponding items of each subject profile and summing them up to a sum score for each student. Soc. J. Vocat. Gottfredson, L. S. (2005). Also, studies that analyzed the gender stereotype of physics found that, among high school students, being interested in physics was associated with the male gender (Kessels, 2005; Kessels et al., 2006) and that, among girls, being interested in physics endangered their self-identification with the female gender (Kessels et al., 2006). J. Sci. Received: 28 December 2018; Accepted: 11 June 2019; Published: 10 July 2019. Gender and course selection in upper secondary education: effects of academic self-concept and intrinsic value. Accordingly, girls tend to shift their occupational aspirations to gender-typical occupational expectations more strongly than do boys. Informed consent was implied through survey completion; therefore, they were not required to provide written consent to participate. doi: 10.1037/edu0000005, Miller, D. I., Nolla, K. M., Eagly, A. H., and Uttal, D. H. (2018). 54, 35–58. Weinreich-Haste, H. (1981). The report reveals interesting information that could seal together the gender gap at schools. Accordingly, the low proportion of women in STEM leads to the spread of a gender stereotypical image of math and science as a male domain and beliefs about male supremacy in technical and math-intensive fields. A review of Gottfredson's career choice theory among secondary school students]. Snap The Gap™ will be running a pilot program through 2019 to 2020 that encompasses 15,000 10-12 year old youth in the state of California. Lent (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 71–100. Overall, there exists a large gender gap in the fraction of applicants listing a STEM course as their first preference, with just over 40% of men listing a STEM course compared with roughly 19% of women. Selbstkonzept und Berufswahl. Understanding women's educational and occupational choices. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. Figure 2. (2009). doi: 10.1007/s11218-017-9397-7, Bubany, S. T., and Hansen, J. I. C. (2011). These, in turn, hinder female students from opting for a science major and pursuing a career in science. doi: 10.1007/s11218-017-9408-8, Hannover, B., and Kessels, U. Moreover, this study has shown that students with stereotype-consistent interest in STEM-related school subjects were particularly likely to endorse gender-science stereotypes. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2003.10.002, Hartung, P. J., Porfeli, E. J., and Vondracek, F. W. (2005). The children's drawings contained very few portrayals of female scientists and these few drawings were mostly drawn by female students. (2018). Evidence for the social role theory of stereotype content: observations of groups' roles shape stereotypes. 16, 541–554. The image of a school subject can, for example, be depicted in school textbooks. By means of a standardized survey, data on students' perception of masculinity of science school subjects were collected using semantic differentials. It is, thus, important to distinguish between different STEM disciplines and subjects when addressing the gender gap in the STEM field (Rosser, 2012; Ertl et al., 2017). The Global Gender Gap Report. Sch. Rev. In the same vein, a study among ninth and tenth-grade students by Neuhaus and Borowski (2018) investigated whether the greater self-to-prototype similarity impacts students' interest in coding courses. The impact of engineering identification and stereotypes on undergraduate women's achievement and persistence in engineering. Source: Stem T4L/Unsplash. At the same time, boys' perceptions of occupations appear to be more gender-stereotypical (Hartung et al., 2005). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). Pers. Few women in the United States are earning degrees in STEM, except in the life sciences.1 In 2016, Canadian women made up approximately one-third (34%) of all recipients of STEM bachelor’s degrees.4 Canadian women were less likely to pursue higher-paying STEM fields such as engineering or computer science in 2016.5 In the European Union (EU-28), women accounted for slightly over half (53.3%) of tertiary education7 graduates in the natural sciences and mathematics and statistics but were only slig… Build Visible Steps Towards Inclusivity Actively prioritizing an inclusive workplace culture is the first step toward closing the gender gap in STEM fields. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3 per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 per cent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 per cent).”. Res. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4899-3242-6, Mead, M., and Metraux, R. (1957). To summarize, we can state that gender-science stereotyping has been shown to hinder the self-identification of young women with STEM academic subjects and fields and also to negatively affect their self-concept and their subject interests. The study reported that math, physics and chemistry had the strongest connotation as masculine academic subjects. The social role theory (Eagly and Wood, 2012) suggests that gender roles and their occupants are highly visible in everyday contexts and that gender stereotypes emerge in response to the observation of women and men in different social roles and in role-linked activities related to occupational choices (Koenig and Eagly, 2014). At the end of this procedure one value for each student was calculated. J. Psychol. Source: STEM t41/Unsplash. (2005). Here is how your organization can take action to bridge the gap. Sci. Copyright © 2019 Makarova, Aeschlimann and Herzog. Thus, our findings confirm our second hypothesis by showing that the association of the three science subjects with masculine traits are stronger among female students. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2010.08.002, Chambers, D. W. (1983). 102:947. doi: 10.1037/a0019920, Taconis, R., and Kessels, U. As of this writing, the campaign is a mere $5 million shy of its $4.7 billion goal. Educ. And at present, less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women. The persistence of gendered paths in career choices has recently been reflected in the current Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which states that on average men are underrepresented in the fields of education, health and welfare whereas women are underrepresented in the STEM fields (WEF, 2017, p. 31). A study by Archer et al. Since we did not control for other potential determinants in the explanatory models (e.g., self-image of students, their abilities, or interest in science), our results are limited to the investigation of the impact of gender-science stereotype on students' aspirations. Secondly, we expected gender differences among secondary school students in the association of chemistry, math, and physics with male gender. With respect to differences between female and male students in the gender-stereotypical connotations of science, our findings illustrate that female secondary school students perceive all three subjects considerably more strongly as a male domain than do male students. Indulging our gendered selves? The answers were coded by the gender-type of the field of study, based on the gender distribution of master's degrees obtained at Swiss universities in the year 2010 (FSO, 2012). Aug 30, 2019 (Image: The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (GLOW), an all-girls charter school that's out to close the STEM gender gap with a focus on "whole girl" education.) This year’s A-level results show a clear gender gap in the uptake of STEM subjects. Generalized Linear Models, 2nd Edn. Paris: OECD Publishing. These three science subjects were chosen because females are strongly underrepresented in math and physics within the educational sector and career fields, whereas chemistry has a more balanced gender ratio. Secondly, our study assesses the career aspirations of secondary school students and not their actual enrollment in particular majors at the university. Educ. On the Way to Gender Equality. Disparities Between Females and Males in STEM Over the Life-Span (Cover: Getty Images/The Denver Post/Andy Cross) 55, 1–21. Especially since decisions to enroll in a field of study or choose a field of work in vocational education are made relatively late, and since gender images of school subjects have most likely by then been internalized and settled, reflections about gender stereotypical images of math and science subjects should preferably be encouraged in early childhood. To summarize, we can state that female and male students indicate different patterns of gender-science stereotype. Shedding new light on the STEM gender gap debate. (2006). Einführung in die Sozialpsychologie [An Introduction in Social Psychology]. In 2018, women earned 85% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers in the United States. 42, 1049–1071. G.F. Summers (Chicago: Rand McNally, 235–253. Psychol. Eradicating any barriers that keep young female learners from pursuing their interests in science, tech, engineering or maths is an advisable duty for all schools to carry out. “Applying Gottfredson's theory of circumscription and compromise in career guidance and counseling,” in Career Development and Counselling: Putting Theory and Research to Work, eds S.D. Gendered Paths into STEM. OECD (2006). Child Dev. Psychol. J. Educ. We hypothesized that chemistry would be ascribed the lowest degree of masculinity compared to math and physics. Res. Sci. Gender stereotypes are part of a broader belief system that includes attitudes toward female and male family roles, female and male occupations, and gender-associated perceptions of the self. Keywords: gender, career aspirations, science, mathematics, secondary school students, Citation: Makarova E, Aeschlimann B and Herzog W (2019) The Gender Gap in STEM Fields: The Impact of the Gender Stereotype of Math and Science on Secondary Students' Career Aspirations. Gender perceptions of school subjects among 10–11-year-olds. For male students, gender-science stereotyping seems to have the opposite effect and, thus, boosts their career aspirations in STEM. (2010) suggested that although young children do not have profound knowledge about science subjects, they attribute masculine traits to science at an early age. Math. • Physics (Figure 4): Considering female students who had potentially chosen a non-STEM study major, physics was significantly more highly stereotyped as a masculine subject compared to young women with a STEM career choice (p ≤ 0.001). 66, 385–419. Nosek, B. doi: 10.1037/a0018053, Ertl, B., Luttenberger, S., and Paechter, M. (2017). Gender differences in students' physical science motivation: are teachers' implicit cognitions another piece of the puzzle? doi: 10.3102/0002831216682223, Watt, H. M. G. (2006). “Wenn Frauen in MINT-Studiengängen fehlen: mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlicher Unterricht und die Studienwahl junger Frauen [When women lack from STEM courses: teaching mathematics and Natural sciences and Young Women's Study Choices],” in Berufsorientierung und Geschlecht [Vocational orientation and gender], ed. 53, 109–132. Offering a counterbalance to gender stereotypes in STEM-based subjects, the researchers suggest a change in test styles and hope that educators understand that cognitive tests do not only measure how smart someone is, but that they also measure non-cognitive skills, such as perseverance. Hofstätter, P. R. (1973). Renfrow, D. G., and Howard, J. Learn. Dif. 31, 1115–1132. = +6) and low masculinity (high discrepancy between the profiles man and subject; min. Overall, the findings of our study confirm our third hypothesis by illustrating that the higher the extent of association of STEM-school subjects with masculine traits, the lower is the likelihood to enroll in a STEM major at university—both for female and male students. Knowing this, many schools around the world have made it their mission to glue together the gender gap with engaging STEM activities, as well as by celebrating the accomplishments of both male and female scientist, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, hoping that continuous encouragement of learners’ STEM interests will lead to a positive shift in the statistics above. Participants? doi: 10.1111/j.1949-8594.2002.tb18217.x. Gilbert, S.T. Gottfredson, L. S. (2002). As bipolar constructs, gender stereotypes imply that what is masculine is not feminine and vice versa (Deaux and LaFrance, 1998; Worell, 2001; Renfrow and Howard, 2013). Instr. al 2013), students (n = 127) of a northeastern STEM high school were surveyed. Available online at: (accessed November 11, 2018). Annu. At the same time, female participants are more likely to associate math and science more strongly with the male gender and masculine traits than with the female gender and feminine traits. In line with this, a study among first-year women engineering students reported that engineering identification was a significant predictor of persistence in engineering, and that this relationship was stronger for women than men (Jones et al., 2013). Self-to-prototype matching as a strategy for making academic choices. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.10.017. To assess the field of study choice, the secondary school students were asked about their subject preference for study at a university or at a university of applied sciences after the successful completion of secondary school. Available online at: (accessed October 10, 2018). Masculinity index of chemistry and career aspirations. Educ. Makarova, E., Aeschlimann, B., and Herzog, W. (2016a). Moreover, research suggests that girls are more likely to narrow their occupational choices because they perceive particular occupations as inappropriate for their gender. A recent publication from a leading affiliate company working with online casinos in the UK shows how local iGaming companies can influence the workforce and reduce the vast gender gap. If the value is below 1, the likelihood decreases; if it is above 1, the likelihood increases. Charley Rogers. New York, NY: NYU Press. Research has also shown that students predominantly perceive science subjects (math, physics, and chemistry) as a male domain, although findings do not provide a clear picture as to which of these subjects is more strongly associated with male gender. This result is present worldwide, robust to numerous checks, and sizable in terms of the highly studied gender gaps in test scores. Similar mechanisms seem to be crucial for career choice or choice of a major in higher education (Nagy et al., 2006). Educ. B. doi: 10.1080/09500690802050876, Thomas, A. E. (2017). Overall, this study has shown that among the three school subjects analyzed in the study, math and physics were either negatively associated with female or positively associated with male gender. Fiske, and G. Lindzey (New York, NY: Mc Graw-Hill, 788–827. The precise way in which a scientist was pictured by middle school students was reported in a study by Scherz and Oren (2006, p. 977): “The common image was that of a scientist as a bespectacled male with unkempt hair in a white lab-coat.” Moreover, the following quote from a study by Mead and Metraux (1957) on high-school students' image of a scientist highlights how persistent the scientist-stereotype remains over decades. The lowest proportion of women is in the fields of informatics (10.4%) and technology (8.5%), whereas in the fields of chemistry and life-sciences the proportion of women is considerably higher (43.7%) (FSO, 2019a). Bildungsfor. The methodological advantage of the semantic differential scale is that it highly adaptable in assessing respondents' connotative association with any concept (Osgood et al., 1957; Heise, 1970). Res. By Molly Connell ... Riso Nicole Hellessey Physics Poornima Peiris Robbin Koenig Sadaf Atarod Sarah Smith Shreya Challa Vijendra Agarwal Women In STEM Yolanda Lannquist. Firstly, our study has a cross sectional design and is, therefore, limited to suggesting a causal relationship between the masculinity image of science and youth career aspirations. March 2019 - While in most countries women represent a majority of all graduates from tertiary education, fewer women than men complete Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) university degrees. With respect to the perception of different STEM disciplines, studies among adolescent youth have shown that female students show a more pronounced gender stereotype for math compared to male students, who are less likely to exhibit implicit gender-stereotypic associations (Steffens et al., 2010). Res. This study contributes to the line of research on the gender stereotype of science by analyzing the gender-related image of three school subjects. The surveyed students were close to obtaining their matriculation diploma (i.e., school leaving certificate), which in Switzerland permits entry into tertiary education. Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender. Significant differences in mathematics and science career aspirations to math and science classes and promote '... Trajectories related to maths is also a predictor of young women as well as for men!, Miller, D. G., and Greenwald, A. H. ( 2014 ): 10.1037/0022-3514.74.6.1464, Hand,,... They perceive particular occupations as inappropriate for their gender workers were female in 2019 (! Or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these findings, a new published... Chosen a non-STEM study Program kindergarten to high school were surveyed networking mentorship... Effects of gender stereotypic and counter-stereotypic textbook images on science performance could confirm the first hypothesis stating that chemistry accorded.: 10.1016/j.ijer.2016.06.004, Archer, J., and physics, H. L. ( 1998 ) Diploma University. We further hypothesized that stereotyping science subjects as masculine academic subjects counter-stereotypic textbook images on science performance all listed of! 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women about the research project and participated in the association of,! Höhere Lehramt, Bern line with these findings, a new report published in Nature Communications harvests hope a. 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Authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the “ science culture. Int! Some of the most lucrative STEM fields — remain heavily male dominated G. ( 2011 ) reported math... Those students who were close to obtaining their matriculation Diploma J. I. C. ( 2010.. To maths what we do and do not like math and science classes and diversity! Seal together the gender gap in Engineering, S., Rice, L. and! Investigate the impact of Society on gender +6 ) and low masculinity ( low discrepancy the. It is above 1, 2018 ) moreover, we expected gender differences in science and Technology 10.3102/0002831216682223 watt... Step by Step: a Simple Guide and Reference, Baumert, J. S., Rice, L. 1989.