ERIC Number: ED485720
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar
Under the Microscope: A Decade of Gender Equity Projects in the Sciences
Dyer, Susan K., Ed.
American Association of University Women Educational Foundation
In the past decade, increasing attention has been paid to the issue of gender equity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The research for this report, led by Yasmin Kafai and a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, was guided by several overarching questions: (1) What types of projects have been funded within and across the various STEM disciplines? (2) Are there areas where efforts been concentrated, and areas that have been overlooked? (3) What patterns emerge among the project types and disciplines? The findings document impressive efforts in preparing girls and women for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics studies and careers and demonstrate a rich and diverse body of gender equity intervention projects within all STEM disciplines. About two-thirds of the projects involved extracurricular informal learning activities such as museum visits and field trips. Equally important were mentoring activities in many forms, ranging from traditional one-to-one to large-scale online versions, and professional development activities, such as course taking and network building, that were successfully integrated into projects. At the same time, the findings reveal some troubling trends. Many projects focused predominantly on career advice without providing access to necessary skill and content development. A majority of projects occurred outside the school curriculum. While such extracurricular projects can be effective and valuable, the overall lack of integration into the school curriculum suggests that gender equity remains on the margins of teaching and learning in the STEM fields. Finally, an absence of data on participant demographics and a lack of project evaluation make it difficult to determine who is being served and if and how project outcomes are being measured. Perhaps most notably, the findings reveal hundreds of excellent and dynamic projects but no consolidated collective strategy to advance gender equity in STEM. The recommendations in this report reflect this problem, suggesting among others the need for more integrated efforts inside and outside of school, more interdisciplinary and cross-age connections, and consistent documentation and evaluation across disciplines and project types. Appended are: (1) Methodology; and (2) Selected Data Tables. (Contains 18 tables.)
Descriptors: Females, Equal Education, Sex Fairness, Mentors, Informal Education, Engineering Education, Mathematics Education, Technology Education, Science Education, Mentors, Professional Development, Research Projects, Womens Education
American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 1111 Sixteenth St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-728-7602; Fax: 202-463-7169; TDD: 202-785-7777; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.aauw.org.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: American Association of Univ. Women Educational Foundation, Washington, DC.