This video from the USA is called Oakland Program Aims to Pique Girls’ Interest in Science, Tech Careers.
A video from England which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:
12 March 2010 — A look at the work Skyswood Primary School in St Albans is doing to encourage girls to enjoy science. When the staff at the school gave the children an annual questionnaire about subjects, they were alarmed to discover that while 70 per cent of boys loved science, only 30 per cent of girls had the same level of enjoyment. The school adopted a number of initiatives to tackle the issue, including more school visits, more science-related visitors in school, and more practical lessons.
From World Science:
Mostly-male book images may reduce girls’ science scores
April 23, 2010
Special to World Science
Part of the reason boys tend to outscore girls in science classes may be that most textbooks show predominantly male scientists’ images, a small exploratory study has found.
The study, on 81 young high-school students, saw the “gender gap” apparently reversed when youths were tested based on a text containing only female scientist images, investigators said. The gap returned in its usual form when male-only images were used—and vanished when the photos showed equal numbers of men and women scientists, researchers said.
The investigators cautioned, based on the small sample size and other factors, that it’s unrealistic to expect it would be so easy to erase the gender gap in real life.
Nonetheless, the findings hint that “providing students with diverse role models within textbook images” may be an important step, the researchers wrote in reporting their results. The study, by Jessica J. Good of Rutgers University in New Jersey and colleagues, is published in the March-April issue of the Journal of Social Psychology.
Other researchers have proposed that society can wipe out the performance gap—which has already shrunken in recent years—by making stronger efforts to give both sexes similar resources and opportunities. A 2004 report by the U.S. Center for Education Statistics noted that the previous year, science scores for eighth-grade boys exceeded those for eighth-grade girls in 28 out of 34 countries surveyed.
In the study on textbook images, ninth- and tenth-grade students, 29 male and 52 female, were asked to read a three-page chemistry text with one photo per page. Students were randomly assigned one of three versions of the reading: one whose pictures showed all male scientists, another with only female scientists and one with equal numbers of scientists of both sexes. The text itself was the same in all cases.
The students, who had no prior formal chemistry training, were next directed to take a short test on the reading.
Girls did significantly better when using the text with women-only images, the investigators reported. Boys did better with the men-only images, though the difference here didn’t reach a statistically significant level. Overall, average scores were higher for girls than boys among all students who got the women-only version.
The common predominance of male-scientist images in textbooks is a case of what some readers would perceive as “stereotype threat,” a phenomenon first described by researchers at Stanford University in California in the mid-1990s, according to Good and colleagues.
Stereotype threat occurs when a test-taker is presented with, or freshly reminded of, a stereotype that reflects negatively on his or her abilities in the subject matter at hand. Studies have found that stereotype threats push down the test-taker’s score, in the same direction the stereotype would predict.
Thus a predominance of male-scientist images in the majority of science textbooks may reinforce popular notions that girls are worse at science, and then lead to results in line with those ideas, said Good and colleagues.
Stereotype threats have been found to affect minorities as well as females. And the new findings suggest stereotype threat might work both ways—hurting not only those disfavored by a common stereotype, but those favored as well. In particular, although the popular stereotype is that boys are the top performers in science, Good’s results hinted that boys’ scores, too, might suffer if they saw pictures that cut against the flattering stereotype.
A simple solution that presents itself, though it requires more research, would be “mixed-gender textbook images,” the researchers wrote. These “may represent a simple and cost-effective way to remedy the negative effects of stereotypic textbook images.”
They cautioned that notwithstanding the latest results, other studies have found that removing stereotype threats doesn’t completely eliminate performance gaps among different groups, though it helps.
How exactly stereotype-threat effects work is unknown, Good and colleagues said, although there is evidence that they operate largely subconsciously. Possible reasons may include anxiety or intrusive thoughts caused by the stereotype threat, they wrote. Another explanation may be that there is a subconscious tendency to conform to societal expectations.
“Research should investigate the influence of diverse role models presented in textbooks as a way of improving performance of multiple stereotyped groups, not just women,” the investigators concluded. “Although eliminating gender bias in textbooks will most likely not eradicate the gender gap in science interest and achievement, it will begin to chip away at an ever crumbling foundation.”
Girls are more interested in studying science if topics are presented in a female friendly way. This is one of the findings of Dr Sylvie Kerger [of] the University of Luxembourg whose research is published online [in] the British Journal of Educational Psychology by BPS Journals in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell: here.
Stereotypes about math and gender are learned young: here.
ScienceDaily (June 26, 2012) — Understanding how a species battles to sustain itself in a challenging habitat is a cornerstone of ecological research; now scientists have applied this approach to science itself to discover why women are being driven out of academia. Their results, published in Oikos, reveals how a gender imbalance in science and academia is maintained by institutional barriers: here.
Women in science: In pursuit of female chemists: here.
Children learn early on that scientists are men: here.
Women account for nearly two-thirds of the 776 million illiterate adults in the world: here.
- Gender gap in science around the world (feministphilosophers.wordpress.com)
- A Map of the Gender Gap in Science Around the Globe (theloveoftech.wordpress.com)