Sue V. Rosser
There will be a larger segment of minorities and women: 23% more Blacks, 70% more Asians and other races (American Indians, Alaska natives and Pacific Islanders), 74% more Hispanics and 25% more women adding 3.6 million, 2.4 million, 6.0 million and 13.0 million more workers respectively. Altogether, the minorities and women will make up 90% of the work force growth and 23% of the new employees will be immigrants. (Thomas 1989, 30)
This work force growth will occur in precisely those groups that have not been attracted in larger numbers to pursue careers in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.
Currently the United States faces a shortage of scientists and engineers. This shortage is already critical and is predicted to become increasingly severe as the decade of the l990s progresses. The increasing dependence of the American economy upon science and technology and the shrinking portion of the demographic pool of individuals who have traditionally filled the positions in the science and technology work force are projected to exacerbate the shortage (Office of Technology Assessment 1987). In order to alleviate the shortage, the National Science Foundation (1990) and the Office of Technology Assessment (1985) recognize that science and technology must no longer remain a white male preserve. Women and men of color must be recruited into the pool of potential scientists in much larger numbers if there is to be any hope of alleviating their dearth of scientists.
Attracting the required large numbers of women and men of color will not occur simply by stating that more women and people of color are needed, although that statement will attract some individuals in a troubled economy. Attention must be given to curricular content and teaching techniques traditionally used in mathematics, science, and engineering to determine how they might be changed to be more attractive to the needed groups.
Two decades of women's studies scholarship and experience with curriculum transformation projects have enabled faculty to develop models (McIntosh 1984; Schuster and Van Dyne 1985; Tetreault 1985) that chart the phases through which changes occur in a variety of disciplines in diverse institutions. This paper explores a model which examines how the composition of the community of scientists may be reflected in specific curricular content and pedagogical techniques through theoretical questions and issues deemed as significant from the perspective of that pool of scientists. Changing the curricular content and pedagogical techniques may lead to a different composition of the pool of scientists who hold a slightly modified theoretical perspective. This perspective may in turn be reflected in further transformation of the curriculum and teaching techniques. The ultimate end of this upward spiral would be a community of scientists representing the same diversity with regard to race, gender, class, and sexual orientation as the United States population as a whole. Their perspective would be reflected in a transformed curriculum and methods which would attract scientists who might evolve an improved science.
Specific pedagogical techniques have been identified to accompany each of the six phases of the model of curriculum transformation. In reality, the phases of curriculum transformation should be visualized as a continuous spiral with overlapping components rather than as discrete stages; many of the pedagogical techniques may be appropriate to accompany multiple stages of the curriculum.
Phase II: Recognition that Most Scientists are Male and that Science May Reflect a Masculine Perspective
Recent publicity from the federal government and various professional societies has made most scientists aware that women are under-represented in all natural science fields, particularly in the theoretical and decision-making levels of the profession. Some scientists, influenced by scholarship in women's studies, philosophy and history of science, and psychology have begun to recognize that gender may influence science. Thomas Kuhn (1970) and his followers have suggested that all scientific theories are the products of individuals living in a particular historical and social milieu. As such, they are biased by the perspective and paradigms of those individuals. Fee (1981) and Keller (1982) have suggested that the absence of women from the decision-making levels of science has produced a science that views the world from a male perspective and is, therefore, womanless. The failure of scientists to recognize this bias has perpetuated the idea of the "objectivity" of science.
Because scientific theory, practice, and approaches may reflect a masculine approach to the natural, physical world, the teaching of science in the lecture, classroom, and laboratory may also reflect that perspective. The following pedagogical techniques may serve as correctives to teaching techniques that represent a masculine approach. They may be useful in attracting individuals, such as women and men of color, whose experiences and perspectives may differ from that of the white male scientist.
Undertake fewer experiments likely to have applications of direct benefit to the military and propose more experiments to explore problems of social concern. The gender gap differential of women voting for issues favoring butter over guns (Klein 1984) might provide a valuable tip for teaching methods to attract females to math and science. Most girls are more likely to understand and be interested in solving problems and learning techniques that do not involve guns, violence, and war. Much of this lack of interest is undoubtedly linked with sex-role socialization.
Some women wish to avoid science, technology, and mathematics because they are disturbed by the destructive ways technology has been used in our society against the environment and human beings. During the current wave of feminism, some feminists reject biology and science altogether (Holliday 1978). As Birke (1986) points out, contemporary feminism grew up in a time of considerable antiscience feeling, resulting mostly from the horrors of the Vietnam war. This feeling was enhanced by analyses demonstrating that male desire to dominate and control nature through technology might be linked to a desire to use similar means to dominate and control women (Merchant 1979).
Most girls and young women are neither adamant nor articulate in voicing their feelings about the uses of science and their resulting avoidance of science. However, many are uncomfortable with engaging in experiments that appear to hurt animals for no reason at all or that seem useful only for calculating a rocket or bomb trajectory.
Teachers may confront this issue rather than assume that the "objectivity" of science protects the scientist from the social concerns about applications of theory and basic research. A strong argument for convincing females they should become scientists is that they can have more direct influence over policies and decisions controlling the uses of technology. Avoiding science and not acquiring the mathematical and scientific skills to understand complex decisions surrounding the use of technology insure the exclusion of women from the decision making process.
Consider problems that have not been considered worthy of scientific investigation because of the field with which the problem has been traditionally associated. In seeking out methods to teach problem-solving skills, it may be advisable to search for examples and problems from more traditionally female dominated fields such as home economics or nursing. Although these fields have been defined as "nonscience," primarily because they are dominated by women (Ehrenreich and English 1978; Hynes 1984), many of the approaches are scientific. Using familiar terminology, equipment, and subjects will allow the student to concentrate on what the problem really asks rather than being put off because she or he does not know what a transformer or trajectory is. Matyas (1985) draws an analogy with males and cooking:
Envision the thoughts and feelings of an adolescent boy asked to enter the kitchen, recipes and definition list in hand, and to prepare a full meal on which he will consequently be graded. Realize that he is in competition with female peers who, though they also have never done this particular task, have considerably greater facility with the equipment required. Perhaps by this analogy we can understand the apprehension of the adolescent girl deciding whether or not to take high school physics. (38)
After successful initial problem-solving sessions using familiar terminology and topics, it should be easier for the student to solve similar problems with unfamiliar terminology and topics. Making the transition to unfamiliar territory will insure success in future science courses.
Undertake the investigation of problems of more holistic, global scope and use interactive methods to approach them rather than the more reduced and limited scale problems traditionally considered. Modern biology, which emphasizes cell and molecular biology, is reductionistic. The brief time periods allotted for laboratory work coupled with the desire to complete an experiment in one laboratory period result in most laboratory exercises being particularly reductionistic.
Most students lack the extensive background in science, familiarity with the organism studied, and knowledge gained from similar experiments to understand the context and ramifications of the particular experiment completed during the laboratory period. They tend to see the experiment as a singular example of a minute phenomenon occurring in an obscure organism. For example, counting the asci in Neurospora appears to them to be a weird activity scientists enjoy for its own sake. They see very little connection between this experiment, genetics in other organisms, and chromosome mapping in humans. All too often the instructor fails to make these important connections explicit.
For female students, it may be especially important for the instructor to spend considerable time describing the global, holistic context of which this experiment is a crucial part. The work of Gilligan (1982) suggests that adolescent girls approach problem solving from the perspective of interdependence and relationship rather than from the hierarchical, reductionistic viewpoint favored by most adolescent boys. Thus females are likely to feel more comfortable in approaching laboratory experiments if they understand the relationship of that experiment to others and the importance of the particular phenomenon being studied for the organism as a whole.
In the teaching of science, most instructors underline the importance of objectivity of the scientist in approaching the subject of study. This is thought to be necessary to establish scientific rigor and school students in the difference between approaches used in the sciences and those of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Feminist critics (Haraway 1978; Keller 1982) as well as practicing scientists (Bleier 1984; Hubbard 1990) have pointed out that the portrayal of the scientist as distant from the object of study masks the creative, interactive relationship many scientists have with their experimental subjects.
Because girls and women consider relationships to be an important part of approaching problems, emphasis on a relationship with the object of study will attract females to study science. I have found students to be amazed that scientists can feel very attached and even passionate about their subjects. The biography of Barbara McClintock, A Feeling for the Organism (Keller 1983), and the passion of the scientist Ana about tumors and bacteria expressed by June Goodfield in An Imagined World (1981) both surprise students. Jan Harding (1987) summed up the situation very well:
When school science is presented as objectified and abstracted laws, that enables those whose personalities fit this approach to the world of enabling control and protecting them from emotional demand to feel comfortable. By in large such individuals are males. Changing that presentation of science is likely to attract individuals of different personality types, namely women.
Phase III Identification of Barriers that Prevent Women from Entering Science
Acceptance of the possibility that a preponderance of male scientists may have led to the production of a science that reflects a masculine approach to the world constitutes the first step towards recognition of barriers to women's becoming scientists. An aspect of this phase shows up in the current studies of attempts to attract more women into science and math, the traditionally "male" disciplines. The National Science Foundation (1990), the Rockefeller Foundation (Berryman 1983), the American Association of Colleges under the auspices of the Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation (Hall and Sandler 1982), the American Chemical Society (1983), and the Office of Technology Assessment (1987), along with other foundations and professional societies, have each issued studies and reports with statistics documenting the lack of women in science and possible "causes and cures."
Other evidence of the obstacles faced surfaces in article titles written by and about women in science.
These titles suggest that women who do become scientists are frequently viewed as anomalies or face numerous problems and difficulties because of their gender.
The dearth of women scientists and the marginalization of the few women who do exist have led to questions about a source of bias and absence of value neutrality in science, particularly biology. The exclusion of females as experimental subjects, a focus on problems of primary interest to males, faulty experimental designs, and interpretations of data based in language or ideas constricted by patriarchal parameters, lead to experimental results in several areas of biology that are biased or flawed. These flaws and biases were permitted to become part of the mainstream of scientific thought and were perpetuated in the scientific literature for decades because most scientists were men. Since most, if not all, scientists were men, values held by them as males were not distinguished as biasing. Values held by male scientists were congruent with values of all scientists and became synonymous with the "objective" view of the world (Keller 1982; 1985). Fee (1981; 1982), Haraway (1978), Hein (1981), and Keller (1982) have described the specific ways in which the very objectivity said to be characteristic of scientific knowledge and the whole dichotomy between subject and object are, in fact, male ways of relating to the world which specifically exclude women.
An additional deterrent for many women and people of color is that biological research has been and continues to be used to justify social and political inequalities. Several historical and contemporary examples exist of this usage (Sayers 1982). If any inequity can be scientifically "proven" to have a biological basis, then the rationale for social pressures to erase that inequity is diminished. In both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, some scientific research has centered on discovering the biological bases for gender differences in abilities to justify women's socially inferior position. Craniometry research and social Darwinism quickly derived from Darwin's theory of natural selection serve as examples of the flawed science used to "prove" the inferiority of women and nonwhites (Sayers 1982). Feminist critics have stated some of the work in sociobiology (Bleier 1984; Hubbard 1979) and brain lateralization (Bleier 1988; Star 1979) constitutes the twentieth-century equivalents providing the scientific justification for maintaining the social status quo of women and minorities.
These barriers for women and people of color are likely to begin in the home and early years of school and be continually reinforced in secondary school science and the surrounding society. Methods applied at the college level to overcome these barriers must include attention to social factors that affect the student both inside and outside the classroom.
Expand the kinds of observations beyond those traditionally carried out in scientific research. Very frequently the expectations of teachers reinforced by experiments in the laboratory manuals convince girls and women that they are not scientific because they do not see or are not interested in observing the "right things" for the experiment. This lack of interest or feeling of inferiority may come from the fact that most scientific investigations have traditionally been undertaken by males who determined what was interesting and important to study.
The expectations and prejudices of the experimenter can bias the observations to such an extent that the data are not perceived correctly. With several thousand years of distance, most scientists admit that Aristotle's experiments in which he counted fewer teeth in the mouths of women than men were biased by his views that women were inferior to men (Arditti 1980). Having students recreate Kuhn's example (Hubbard and Lowe 1979) in which an observer quickly shown a deck of playing cards still "sees" a black ace of spades which has been in fact changed to red confirms for them the bias that expectation can have upon observation. The Kuhnian example opens the door for students to recognize that scientists having different expectations car observe different factors in an experiment.
Accurate perceptions of reality are more likely to come from scientists with diverse backgrounds and expectations observing a phenomenon. Because women may have different expectations from men, they may note different factors in their observations . This example may explain why female primatologists (Fossey 1983; Goodall 1971; Hrdy 1977, 1979, 1984) saw "new" data such as female-female interaction when observing primate behaviors. Including this data that had not been previously considered led to substantial changes in the theories of subordinance and domination as the major interactive modes of primate behavior. Women students may see new data that could make a valuable contribution to scientific experiments.
Increase the numbers of observations and remain longer in the observational stage of the scientific method. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicate that females at ages 9, 13, and 17 have significantly less science experiences than boys of comparable ages (Educational Testing Service 1988). This disparity in use of scientific equipment (scales, telescopes, thermometers, and compasses) and work with experimental materials (magnets, electricity, and plants) is at least partially due to sex-role stereotyping of toys and extracurricular activities for boys and girls in our society (Kahle 1985). The lower achievement rate and less positive attitude of girls toward science may be directly related to participation in fewer science activities (Kahle and Lakes 1983). Girls and young women who lack hands-on experience with laboratory equipment are apt to feel apprehensive about using equipment and instruments in data gathering.
Because of time constraints, the observational stage of the experiment frequently is shortened and students are simply given the data for analysis. This practice is particularly detrimental to females who have fewer extracurricular opportunities for hands-on experiences. Programs that have been successful in attracting and retaining women in equipment-oriented, nontraditional fields, such as engineering, have included a special component for remedial hands-on experience (Daniels and LeBold 1982).
Making young women feel more comfortable and successful in the laboratory could be accomplished by providing more hands-on experience during an increased observational stage of data gathering. In a coeducational environment, it is essential that females be paired with females as laboratory partners. Male-female partnerships frequently result in the male working with the equipment while the female writes down the observations. Her clerical skills are improved, but she has gained no more experience with equipment for her next science course.
Incorporate and validate personal experiences women are likely to have had as part of the class discussion or the laboratory exercise. Most learners, regardless of their learning style, are interested in phenomena and situations with which they have had personal experience. For example, in introductory biology classes, students demonstrate more interest in the parts of the course which they perceive to be most directly relevant to human beings. The portion on human genetics generates more questions and interest from a larger fraction of students than parts of the course dealing with the structure of the cell or plant taxonomy.
Research on science anxiety suggests that experience with an instrument and familiarity with a task ameliorate anxiety (Malcolm 1983). Beginning the course or individual lesson with examples and equipment with which girls are more likely to be familiar may reduce anxiety for girls. Often the context of a problem can be switched from one that is male gender-role stereotyped to one that is female gender-role typed, or gender neutral. Transforming many of the proportions for mixing concrete and measurements for building airplanes to amounts of ingredients for making cookies and dress patterns represents such a switch that has been made in mathematics textbooks.
Formulate hypotheses focusing on gender as a crucial part of the questions asked. Laboratory exercises in introductory classes may include gender as an assumption or hidden aspect of the question asked. In some cases, a male norm is simply assumed. These assumptions can make female students feel somewhat isolated and distant from the experiment without understanding the reasons for their alienation. Bringing up the issue of gender, correcting laboratory exercises (to include data collection on both males and females, whether they be other animals or humans) where appropriate, and formulating questions to elucidate gender differences or similarities as a variable may bring female students closer to the data. It also constitutes better science because assuming gender does not influence a particular variable is not valid.
An example of a laboratory exercise assuming a male norm and framework is the exercise on the displays of the Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta spendens, used in introductory biology (Towson State University 1984). The exercise implies the only interaction occurring is between males, since only male responses to male, self, and female behavior are assessed. The female Betta is simply a passive object used to arouse the aggression of the males. Correcting the exercise to include an analysis of the female-female and female-male interaction would convey to the students a more significant role for females, while also constituting better science, as this is the sole laboratory exercise devoted to animal behavior in the course. Including females in the experimental design is better science. It introduces the possibility of testing for gender differences caused by the variable under observation. Female students are also likely to feel more included and to see the ramifications of the experiment for their lives.
Decrease laboratory exercises in introductory courses in which students must kill animals or render treatment that may be perceived as particularly harsh. Merchant (1979) and Griffin (1978) explored the historical roots of twentieth-century mechanistic science which place both women and animals on the nature side of the nature/culture dichotomy. Their works document the extent to which modern mechanistic science becomes a tool men use to dominate both women and animals. Thus many women may particularly empathize with animals being treated harshly or killed for the sake of scientific knowledge.
A laboratory exercise common in most introductory biology courses involves killing a frog by pithing its brain. I have found many more female students either refuse to pith the frog or register significant discomfort with the act than do male students. One wonders if this laboratory is traditionally included in introductory biology, as Zuleyma Tang Halpin (1989) points out, precisely because it serves as an initiation rite to discourage the students who feel too much empathy with animals from becoming biology majors.
Phase IV: Search for Women Scientists and Their Unique Contributions
Although we sometimes labor under the false impression that women have only become scientists in the latter half of the twentieth century, early works by Christine de Pizan (1405), Giovanni Boccaccio (1355-59), and H. J. Mozans (1913) recorded past achievements of women in science. Their works underscore the fact that women have always been in science. However, all too frequently the work of women scientists has been credited to others, brushed aside and misunderstood, or classified as nonscience. There are several classic examples of the loss of the names of women scientists and the values of their work. Rosalind Franklin's fundamental work on the x-ray crystallography of DNA, which led to the theoretical speculation of the double helical nature of the molecule by Watson and Crick, continues to be brushed aside and undervalued (Watson 1969; Sayre 1975). The ground-breaking work of Ellen Swallow in water, air, and food purity, sanitation, and industrial waste disposal, which began the science of ecology, was reclassified as home economics primarily because the work was done by a woman (Hynes 1984). Ellen Swallow is thus honored as the founder of home economics rather than as the founder of ecology.
The recovery of the names and contributions of the lost women of science has been invaluable research provided by historians of science who were spurred on by the work of feminists in history. Much of the work has followed the male model, focusing on the great or successful women in science. Olga Opfell's (1978) The Lady Laureates: Women Who Have Won the Nobel Prize and Lynn Osen's (1974) Women in Mathematics are based upon this model. Many individual biographies on famous figures such as Marie Curie (Reid 1974), Rosalind Franklin (Sayre 1975), Sophie Germain (Bucciarelli and Dworsky 1980), Mary Somerville (Patterson 1983), and Sofia Kovalenskia (Koblitz 1983) have also emerged. Demonstrating that women have been successful in traditional science is important in that it documents the fact that despite the extreme barriers and obstacles, women can do excellent science. This work is what Lerner (1975) calls compensatory history.
Some historians have rejected this male model and sought to examine the lives and situations of women in science who were not famous. Margaret Rossiter's (1982) Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 is the ground-breaking work that examines how the work of the usual woman scientist suffers from under-recognition due to application of double standards and other social barriers inherent in the structure of they scientific community. Londa Schiebinger's work (1980) on the role of women in Europe during the period of formulation of modern science documents a lengthy tradition for less famous women scientists.
Recovering the history of women in science often reveals the history of the use of flawed scientific research against women and people of color. Frequently, biologically deterministic theories, such as sociobiology and those regarding hormone effects on the brain, have been used to justify women's position in society.
Feminist scientists refute the biologically deterministic theories by pointing out their scientific flaws (Bleier 1979, Hubbard 1979, 1990; Lowe 1978; Rosser 1982, in press). Bleier (1979) discusses at length the subtle problems that accompany biochemical conversions of hormones within the body, so that an injection of testosterone may be converted to estrogen or another derivative by the time it reaches the brain. She and others have also repeatedly warned against extrapolating from one species to another in biochemical, as well as behavioral, traits. Feminist scientists have warned sociobiologists about the circularity of logic involved in using human language and frameworks to interpret animal behavior, which is then used to "prove" that certain human behavior is biologically determined, since it was also found in animals.
Include the names of women scientists who have made important discoveries. Teaching methods must be modified to include the integration of work done by women into their discussions of important scientific experiments. It can be rewarding for students to learn about the nine women who succeeded in the traditional scientific establishment and won the Nobel Prize. In some cases, just mentioning the first name of the experimenters, for example, Alfred Hershey and Margaret Chase when discussing the experiments determining that DNA was the genetic component in bacteriophage (Taylor 1965), will break the stereotype that all scientists are male. It is also crucial to convey to students that although the scientific hierarchy is set up so that often only one man wins the prize or heads the laboratory, much of the actual work leading to the important discovery is done by teams of many people, many of whom are women.
Use less competitive models and more interdisciplinary methods to teach science. Research by Horner (1969) and Shaver (1976) indicates women learn more easily when cooperative rather than competitive pedagogical methods are used. While male students may thrive on competing to see who can finish the problem first, females prefer and perform better in situations where everyone wins. Emphasizing cooperative methods in the class and laboratory makes mathematics and science more attractive to females.
In its program to encourage college women in math-related fields, Mills College takes several steps to change traditional teaching styles: homework and attendance are required every class period; homework counts one-third toward the final grade; and students are encouraged to discuss the assignments and work on them together. In order to reduce the competition and fear of not finishing on time initiated by timed tests, examinations are given in the evening with no time limit, although they must be completed in one sitting (Blum and Givant 1982).
Because of the current small number of women in science and the lock-step sequencing of the courses, females can be relatively isolated from other women and excluded from informal male networks. Several programs that have been successful in encouraging women in science and math have emphasized networking and support groups to facilitate cooperative interaction (Daniels and LeBold 1982; Max 1982). A necessary element for women's success in engineering programs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was provided by a peer group or team with whom they could cooperate. Male students already had the exam samples from the fraternity files and had "buddies" who could help them (Dresselhaus 1987).
A study by Wheeler and Harris (1979) suggests that women benefit from small physics problem-solving workshops where they can build confidence. Their study also indicates that women benefit from exercises on test-taking strategies and especially from encouragement in educated risk-taking.
Because of their interest in relationships and interdependence, female students will be more attracted to science and its methods when they perceive its usefulness in other disciplines. Mills College capitalized on this idea by emphasizing interdisciplinary courses stressing the applications of mathematics in courses such as sociology, economics, and chemistry (Blum and Givant 1982). They also developed a five-year dual degree engineering program that permits the students to receive bachelor's degrees in both liberal arts and engineering (Blum and Givant 1982).
Many of the students at Mary Baldwin College, another small liberal arts college for women, became biology majors after taking a women's studies course focused on women's health. They sought a better understanding of basic biological processes although their initial attraction to the women's studies course had been to learn more about the psychology of childbirth, social and economic factors affecting teen pregnancy, and mood changes during the menstrual cycle. Frequently, psychology students sought a double major in biology to understand the physiological processes underlying the psychological phenomena they were studying (Rosser 1986).
Discuss the role of scientist as only one facet which must be smoothly integrated with other aspects of students' lives. A major issue concerning most females is the possibility and difficulty of combining a scientific career with marriage and/or family. In a longitudinal study of valedictorians from public high schools, Arnold (1987) found that the primary gender difference between male and female valedictorians in choice of major and career was related to issues surrounding marriage and family. Even among the young women choosing to pursue a career in science or engineering, later marriage and/or later childbearing were considered as mechanisms permitting them to achieve their career goals. The research of Baker (1983) demonstrated a conflict between "femininity" and science, accounting for the low number of women at the doctoral level in science.
It is clear the issue of the compatibility between a career and family life must be addressed in order for large numbers of young women to be attracted to science. Role models of successful women scientists from a variety of backgrounds who exhibit diverse lifestyles can best address this issue. Many federally funded programs and university-based recruitment efforts emphasize the importance of role models. Remembering the significant role that a mentor or role model played in their own lives, many women scientists are willing to spend large amounts of time speaking to young women. Many of the women's professional organizations have particular outreach role model programs. The Purdue Program in Engineering (Daniels and LeBold 1982) attributes much of its success to the Society of Women Engineers.
Put increased effort into strategies such as teaching and communicating with nonscientists to break down barriers between science and the lay person. Scientific, mathematical, and medical terminology are frightening and inaccessible to many people in our society. This terminology proliferates as scientific investigation into an area becomes increasingly sophisticated and as its accompanying technology becomes correspondingly more complex. In a survey of girls in British classrooms, Bentley (1985) summarized the attitude of one female in the following way:
She appears also to have developed a view that as she progresses in her science studies, and indeed as science knowledge in society becomes more detailed there is an increasing dependence on complex apparatus and this is distancing in its effect. She seems to be saying that her view of science as an accessible activity that ordinary human beings can engage with was a childish and naive one, and that due to increasing technological knowledge the openness of science to people is decreasing. (163)
The combination of these factors makes many students, particularly females, fear and desire to avoid science and mathematics. Research (Hall and Sandler 1982) has indicated that females face the additional barrier of having their answers and theories about science devalued because of their speech patterns and other verbal and nonverbal methods of communication. New approaches for communicating scientific information may aid in attracting women to science while opening the door for a new appreciation and valuing of the ideas of females science.
It may become necessary to restructure the curriculum to include more information on communication skills and ethics A survey of engineering seniors conducted at Purdue University (Daniels and LeBold 1982) discovered that female students were more apt than males to give greater importance to educational goals stressing general education, communication skills, X and the development of high ethical standards. "However, they were similar to the men in their perception that such goals were not achieved very well" (Daniels and LeBold 1982, 157). The recent cases of scientific fraud (Kohn 1986) and problems of communication in the scientific community suggest that more information on the topics desired by the women could benefit all.
Sells (1982) points out that teaching mathematics with the intention to deliver skills and communicate is very different from teaching mathematics with the intention of weeding out all but the top of the class. At the time when many of the instructors were trained, an oversupply of scientists and physicians was expected; therefore, teaching techniques were often geared towards selecting the elite. Weeding out teaching styles are less likely to appeal even to very able female students since women suffer from lower self-esteem in our society. Tutoring by peers or student majors may be effective techniques for female students.
Discuss the practical uses to which scientific discoveries are put to help students see science in its social context. A very persuasive argument to attract women to science is the tremendous usefulness it has for improving people's lives. The positive social benefits of science and technology seem to be overwhelmingly important to females. The research of Jan Harding (1985) shows that girls who choose to study science do so because of the importance of the social implications of the problems science can solve. When asked to solve a particular mechanical problem, boys and girls took a different approach: boys viewed the problem as revolving around the technicalities of producing an apparatus; girls described the problem in its social context or environment, developing a technology to solve a difficulty faced by an elderly person, for example (Grant 1982).
In a study of differential attitudes between boys and girls toward physics, Lie and Bryhni (1983) gave the following summary of their results.
Taken together we may say that the girls' interests are characterized by a close connection of science to the human being, to society and to ethic and aesthetic aspects. Boys more than girls are particularly interested in the technical aspects of science. (209)
This research suggests that programs emphasizing internships or work experience in industrial or government sectors (Daniels and LeBold 1982) may be particularly important for females because they demonstrate the practical applications of science in aiding people.
Phase V: Science Done by Feminists/Women
Uncovering women scientists and their contributions provides an opportunity to examine differences between their work and that of men scientists. Similarly, awareness of possible biases and flaws introduced into research from the dominance of males and a masculine perspective in science led to explorations of unique aspects of science done by women. Three examples of recent work suggest possible differences between males and females in distance between scientist and subject of study, use of experimental subjects, and language.
1. Barbara McClintock is an achieving scientist who is not a feminist. However, in her approach towards studying maize, she indicates a shortening of the distance between the observer and the object being studied and a consideration of the complex interaction between the organism and its environment. Her statement upon receiving the Nobel Prize was that "it might seem unfair to reward a person for having so much pleasure over the years, asking the maize plant to solve specific problems and then watching its responses" (Keller 1983). This statement suggests a closer, more intimate relationship with the subject of her research than typically is expressed by the male "objective" scientist. One does not normally associate words such as "a feeling for the organism" (Keller 1983) with t rational, masculine approach to science. McClintock also did not accept the predominant hierarchical theory of genetic DNA as the "Master Molecule" that controls gene action but focused on the interaction between the organism and its environment as the locus of control.
2. Models that more accurately simulate functioning, complex biological systems may be derived from using female rats as subjects in experiments. Women scientists such as Hoffman (1982) have questioned the tradition of using male rats or primates as subjects. With the exception of insulin and the hormones of the female reproductive cycle, traditional endocrinological theory predicted that most hormones are kept constant in level in both males and females. Thus, the male of the species, whether rodent or primate, was chosen as the experimental subject because of his noncyclicity. However, new techniques of measuring blood hormone levels have demonstrated episodic, rather than steady, patterns of secretion of hormones in both males and females. As Hoffman (1982) points out, the rhythmic cycle of hormone secretion, as also portrayed in the cycling female rat, appears to be a more accurate model for the secretion of most hormones.
3. As more women have entered primate research, they have begun to challenge the language used to describe primate behavior and the patriarchal assumptions inherent in searches for dominance hierarchies in primates. Lancaster (1975) describes a single-male troop of animals as follows:
For a female, males are a resource in her environment which she may use to further the survival of herself and her offspring. If environmental conditions are such that the male role can be minimal, a one-male group is likely. Only one male is necessary for a group of females if his only role is to impregnate them. (34)
Her work points out the androcentric bias of primate behavior theories, which would describe the above group as a "harem" and consider dominance and subordination in the description of behavior. Describing the same situation using a gynocentric term such as stud reveals the importance of using more gender-neutral language such as that suggested by Lancaster to remove bias.
The following examples delineate specific techniques that might be adapted for the classroom to appeal particularly to women and people of color.
Use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods in data gathering. Some females have suggested their lack of interest in science comes in part from their perception that the quantitative methods of science do not allow them to report their nonquantitative observations, thereby restricting the questions asked to those that they find less interesting. These perceptions are reinforced by textbooks, laboratory exercises, and views of scientific research propagated by the media. In their efforts to teach the objectivity of science and the steps of the scientific method, very few instructors and curricular materials manage to convey the creative and intuitive insights that are a crucial part of most scientific discoveries. For example, most of my students are shocked and pleased to learn McClintock could guess exactly how her corn kernels would look before she ever counted them on the ears (Keller 1983).
Few students have the opportunity to observe the methods by which both qualitative and quantitative data can be combined to explore interesting questions. Many women have an interest in the topic of pregnancy. Combining quantitative physiological data-such as blood pressure, pulse rate, glucose and protein quantities from urinalysis, and weight-combined with qualitative assessments given by the patient herself-such as levels of fatigue and nausea-can be used in the laboratory to determine the progress of a pregnancy. If so desired, qualitative assessments can be converted to a self-assessed numerical scale to yield a number that can be combined with quantitative data. In the laboratory, qualitative observations of animal behavior such as relative activity or passivity can be converted to a numerical scale to be combined with more directly assessed quantitative data.
Use precise, gender-neutral language in describing data and presenting theories. Small children given information using generic language such as "mankind" and "he" draw pictures of men and boys when they are asked to visually present the information or story that they have heard (Martyna 1978). Although adult women have learned that they are supposed to included in generic language, some studies (Thorne 1979) have indicated that women feel excluded when such language is used. Hall and Sandler (1982) have documented the negative effects sexist language has on females in the classroom. Kahle (1985) in her study of secondary school biology classes found that absence of sexism in classroom interactions and curricular materials is important in attracting young women to science.
Because most scientists in our culture are male, science tends to be perceived as a nontraditional area for women. It may become necessary to move beyond the absence of sexism to make particular efforts to correct stereotypes in the students' minds and to emphasize female scientists and their contributions. The necessity for this extra step was brought to my attention by an exercise developed by Virginia Gazzam-Johnson' (1985) for her students. She provided students with a bibliography of scientific references. Approximately one-third of the names on the list included female forenames and one third were traditional male forenames for our culture. The other third of the authors used only initials for the forenames. When asked to state the gender of the individuals listed, most students assumed all of the people whose names were represented by initials were male. This is particularly ironic because initials were originally used by many female authors to disguise their gender. However, the stereotype of the male scientist is so strong in our culture that, unless clearly identified as female, scientists are assumed to be male.
Encourage uncovering of biases such as those of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation which may permeate theories and conclusions drawn from experimental observation. Removing sexism from the classroom and providing an awareness of the feminist critique of science are not sufficient to attract the diversity of individuals needed to correct the bias within science. Science in the United States (and in the Western world) suffers from bias and lack of diversity in other factors besides gender. In addition to being largely a masculine province, it is also primarily a white, with the exception of the recent addition of Asian-Americans, and middle- to upperclass province (NSF 1990). This relatively homogeneous group results in the restricted diversity of scientists compared to the general population. Restricted diversity may lead to excessive similarity in approaches to problem solving and interpretation of data, thereby limiting creativity and introducing bias.
Data collected from programs attempting to recruit and retain minorities in science have been interpreted to show that minorities of both sexes may fail to be attracted to science for some of the same reasons white women are not attracted (George 1982). In addition, racism among scientists, both overt and covert, and the use of scientific theories to justify racism are additional powerful deterrents.
Reading Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just (Manning 1983) helps to sensitize students to the discrimination and alienation felt by African-American male scientists. Comparing Manning's work and the black critiques of science with feminist critiques will help to elucidate the separate biases contributed by race and gender (Fee 1986; Harding 1986).
Minority women face double barriers posed by racism and sexism. More research needs to be done to elucidate particular techniques that might help attract and retain minority women, including complex analyses recognizing the intersection of class, race, and gender as factors affecting each individual. Sensitivity of the instructor to these interlocking phenomena in women's lives is a first step toward attracting a diverse population to science.
Encourage development of theories and hypotheses that are relational, interdependent, and multi-causal rather than hierarchical, reductionistic, and dualistic. Laboratories in science classes frequently tend to be excessively simplistic and reductionistic. In an attempt to provide clear demonstrations and explanations in a limited span of time, instructors and laboratory manuals avoid experiments focusing on relationships among multiple factors. Well-controlled experiments in a laboratory environment may provide results that have little application to the multivariate problems confronted by scientists outside the classroom and by students in their daily lives in the real world. For example, measurement of the increase in blood pressure after running upstairs compared to the rate at rest demonstrates only one of multiple interactive and, often, synergistic factors increasing blood pressure.
Building on the theory of Chodorow (1978) and the research of Gilligan (1982) and Belenky, et al. (1986), instructors capitalize on females' interest in relationships and interaction among factors in introducing and discussing the experiment. Females are likely to be eager to learn how the specific bit of information provided by this particular experiment is likely influence and be influenced by other related factors. One laboratory instructor expressed the situation in the following way: "The boys won't listen to the instructions; they can't wait to play with the equipment. The girls always want more information about what they're doing and how it relates to other topics we've already studied" (Robinson 1987).
Problems with multiple causes from related factors often result in data that are best expressed by gradations along a continuum. Theories of mutual interdependence often best explain . such data. These are the types of data and theories traditionally seen as too complex for lower level, introductory courses. These are also the types of theory and data that may be used in approaching problems-such as environmental factors affecting fetal development-which interest many female students.
Phase VI: Science Redefined and Reconstructed to Include Us All
The ultimate goal of the methods and curricular changes suggested in phases I-V is the production of curriculum information and pedagogy which includes women and people of color and therefore attracts individuals from those groups to become scientists. Obviously, this curriculum and these methods have not been fully developed yet. Achievement of phase VI should accomplish more than increasing the diversity of individuals who choose to become scientists. Phase VI should also result in a better science which suffers from fewer flaws and biases. As more people from varying backgrounds and perspectives become scientists, they increase the likelihood that the scientific method will be able to function as it should. As long as most scientists come from a relatively homogeneous perspective- that of the white, middle-/upper-class Western male-their view of the world and science will be limited by that perspective. When scientific hypotheses are held up for critique to the scientific community, biases and flaws in the hypotheses are likely to go unseen to the extent that the scientific community holds a relatively homogeneous perspective. This homogeneity in gender, race, and class is what caused the scientific community to fail to include women and men of color in definitions of problems for study, as experimental subjects in drug tests, and in applications of research findings.
Expansion of the pool of scientists to include individuals from both genders and diverse races and classes will eliminate the homogeneity that resulted in this flawed science while strengthening the rigor of the scientific method. The broadened scope of problems explored, expanded approaches, and less biased theories produced by this more diverse group of scientists will be reflected in the scientific curriculum. This transformed curriculum should in turn attract a larger more heterogeneous group to become scientists.
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