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Thursday, February 23, 2006

It's not quite science, but I like it.

I came across an interesting page via I Am Bored today – it compares 31 American 7th grade students’ descriptions and drawings of scientists before and after a visit to a laboratory.

There were 17 boys and 14 girls in the group. All 17 boys drew and described MALE scientists before their visit. Nine girls drew MALE scientists before their visit and 5 drew FEMALE scientists.

After their visit to the lab they wrote a new paragraph about scientists and drew another drawing to represent them. All 17 boys drew MALE scientists after their visit, where as 6 girls drew MALE and 7 girls drew FEMALE scientists (one girl drew both a man and a woman – though it’s unclear if they’re both meant to be scientists, so I’ve excluded her from the ‘after’ count).
This may indicate a wider dominant schema children have for scientist as MALE. This may be due to lower levels of women having science based careers, or to less successful women scientists being publically proclaimed. It may also indicate that girls meeting female scientists then identify women as scientists predominantly. Also this doesn't include social sciences (domainated by women in my experieince) - perhaps they're not considered to be real sciences?

But, the children may have been asked to drawn the specific person they met and the boys may not have met female scientists on their visit. Some of the children may also be drawing representations of themselves as scientists. Also I had to guess at a gender of a couple of the kids because they had androgynous names. I had to guess at a couple of the drawings too because again they were androgynous.

This is interesting in itself – are these children trying to represent a ‘scientist’ free from the usual gender rules?

The drawings are cute, go have a gander.


Joel said...

I can understand boys drawing men, but girls drawing men and women? This is indeed sad.

I wonder if we took a profession such as nurse or fashion model what the drawings would be like? Well, maybe we don't want to do the latter when boys are involved.

lost clown said...

ah some things never change. the way some jerkwads treat the women in our physics department you know they think of women as less then scientists. Kiss it, my girly brain can out physics your ass any day.