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Girls in Science and Technology: the development of a discourse

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This article discusses the contribution of educational research to the emergence of a discourse on 'the problem of girls in science and technology' in the Netherlands. Research has not only produced findings and recommendations, but also conceptualisations of the problem. We argue that it has gradually become self-evident to think of the attitudes, achievement and choices of girls pertaining to science and technology as the problem of gender inequality in education. The results of many studies focusing on connections between teacher behaviour, the subject matter and school characteristics on the one hand and attitudes, achievement and choices of girls on the other, appear to be disappointing. We suggest that both the questions that were asked and the way they were investigated are responsible for the disappointing results. We propose that research on gender and education should not be limited to the investigation of statistical correlations between school characteristics and student outcomes, but should also study the mechanisms and processes that mediate between these factors. Insights from women's studies on the social construction of gender and on the development of gendered identities could be useful in addressing this issue.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1995

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