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CHALLENGING IMPLICIT GENDER BIAS IN SCIENCE: POSITIVE REPRESENTATIONS OF FEMALE SCIENTISTS IN FICTION

Helen Merrick

Journal of Community Positive Practices, 2012, issue 4, 744-768

Abstract: Despite decades of research and affirmative action, women continue to be under-represented in the sciences. Cultural assumptions and stereotypes are a key factor impacting women’s entry into and retention in the sciences, indicating the need for improved role models for girls in science education. This paper reviews the critical research on Media representations of female scientists, and argues that more positive role models are found in fiction. This research examines the kind of cultural work such representations might perform, analysing a diverse sample of texts from 1905 to the present. These images of female scientists provide numerous examples of positive, non-traditional role models, examples of egalitarian scientific cultures, and critiques of contemporary science. Informed by this analysis, the article considers how these representations might be used to challenge stereotypical assumptions concerning women’s role in the sciences.

Keywords: Gender; science education; female scientists; representation; role models (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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