Based on interviews with 8 female STEM students, two professors recently concluded that “masculine” norms are to blame for the lack of female STEM graduates.
According to the professors, these masculine norms include “asking good questions,” “capacity for abstract thought and rational thought processes,” “motivation,” “independent” thinking, and a relatively low fear of failure.
The study is titled, Gendered Student Ideals in STEM in Higher Education, by Laura Parson & C. Casey Ozaki
Laura Parson‘s Ph.D is in “Teaching and Learning (Higher Education), 2016, University of North Dakota,” one of her research interests is “– Rigor in the curriculum design and program evaluation process.” Apparently, she didn’t get the memo from Purdue that “rigor” is a partriarchal scheme and on the list of banned thought.
Dr. Ozaki “…earned her Ph.D in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education in 2009 from Michigan State University… She is specifically interested in the intersection between students’ epistemology and meaning-making development in relationship to their decision-making about and strategies for persistence in higher education.“
Notice, neither one of them has any direct knowledge of STEM. They’re both in Education Departments.
Here’s the abstract, with corrections:
Using the framework of feminist standpoint theory,
Starting with our conclusion, we worked backward to find evidence to support it,
…this study explored the everyday work of undergraduate STEM students to identify STEM institutional cultural norms and standards that organize and inform the organization of everyday work for undergraduate women majoring in math and physics.
…this study of 8 (count ’em, 8) female STEM students, who were asked leading questions, is the complete story of 500 years of refining the scientific method. And we said “everyday” twice to make sure you know we think the scientific method is a chronologically challenged crock of patriarchal Western Privilege, irrelevant to today’s teaching needs.
Data collection and analysis focused on how the interface between undergraduate women and STEM education was organized as a matter of everyday encounters between students, faculty, and administration through their experiences inside and outside the classroom.
We talked with 8 students and our like-minded colleagues in the Education Faculty. Everyday.
Undergraduate participants reported challenges meeting some of the characteristics of successful math and physics students (e.g., taking risks, asking questions, putting school first) and preferred a collectivistic environment.
We found some females aren’t successful math and physics students because they reject common sense behaviors leading to success across all fields and think males should take their tests for them.
These characteristics are evidence of a masculine STEM institution, which also creates a masculine ideal that women students are expected to meet and exacerbates their discomfort in the STEM environment.
Females shouldn’t be expected to meet any standards that make them uncomfortable. Like “asking good questions,” “capacity for abstract thought and rational thought processes,” “motivation,” “independent” thinking, or putting school first.
Here’s why some Academiot Journal would publish it (University libraries are forced to buy it):
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This is not to say that there aren’t differences between men and women, though Larry Summers got hounded out of Harvard by female
careerists STEM scientists like Nancy Hopkins for suggesting there are, it is to insist that those differences can’t be bridged in STEM by disparaging a capacity for abstract and rational thought.