Brooms and Briefcases

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Published on April 26, 2014

Author: bhjk


Brooms and Briefcases : Brooms and Briefcases Gender-Based Stereotypes and Pursued Major at NCSU Gender-Related Challenge : Gender-Related Challenge In general, men are expected to pursue scientific career fields more than women. There is evidence to suggest that women are not only less expected to pursue these careers, but also less welcomed in these fields. What could cause these problems? STEREOTYPES! On Our Campus Is there a link between such gender-based stereotypes and the minority status of women in STEM fields at NC State? Our goal was to find out if our peers conform to these stereotypes, feel affected by them, and/or possess awareness of them. Background Research : Background Research Science, Sex, and Stereotypical Images in Scientific Advertising Only 22 percent of employed scientists and engineers are women (Barbercheck). The lower number of women in scientific fields could be attributed to social barriers or their differential treatment (Barbercheck). Advertisements for science and in scientific journals usually include pictures of men as scientists instead of women, reinforcing stereotypes about who should “do science” (Barbercheck). Parental Influence on Children’s Socialization to Gender Roles Children are taught at a very young age what it means to be male or female, and this carries on into adulthood (Witt). Children are socialized to think that one gender is better than another in certain school subjects or that certain toys are gender-specific (Witt). For example, males are often seen as the ones who are good at math while females are known to be the ones who are good at nurturing children (Witt). Background Research : Socialization to Gender Roles: Popularity among Elementary School Boys and Girls Separation of sexual cultures has been observed as early as preschool. Elementary schools often create the environment and opportunity for children to have a “second curriculum” in which they create their own norms, values, and styles. This peer culture influences the identity formation process that children go through, and it significantly contributes to the creation of gender differences. Gender Roles and Settlement Activities Among Children and Their Immigrant Families This article focuses on how boys and girls go about permanently settling into Mexican immigrant households. It was found that girls participated more than boys in activities that required more responsibility or detailed explanations. Boys also did household work but had different responsibilities than girls. Background Research Intervention : Intervention Use of technology--surveymonkey, Facebook, Word, etc. We wanted to use a survey to see if our peers conform to or feel affected by gender-based stereotypes within their major. The survey would allow people to reflect on their own beliefs and experiences. Investigation Questions: How aware are NC State students of the gender-based stereotypes that are present in society? Do gender-based stereotypes affect what major NC State students choose to pursue? Implementation: Implementation We created a survey that asked students about why they chose their major, if they feel accepted in their major, and more. We relied on the use of Facebook to survey our fellow students at NC State. We posted the survey on our personal Facebook pages as well as multiple NC State pages. Here is the link to the survey: The results of the survey can be found at: Implementation: Implementation After collecting survey responses, we made conclusions about gender-based stereotypes on campus and made a flyer about our findings. We posted these around campus so people could see what we discovered and hopefully reflect on the impact of gender-based stereotypes. We created a Facebook page to help inform people about issues related to gender roles and stereotypes. Evaluations : Evaluations Logistics The survey was a quick, technological approach to implementation that seemed to get many people to take our survey (75 participants). However, 75 people is a small sample size considering NC State has over 30,000 students. This makes it hard to generalize our findings to the entire campus. We had difficulty reaching a wide variety of students from different majors. We also had a disproportionate amount of women take the survey compared to men . Societal Implications Almost a quarter of our respondents said that there should be more men than women in science and engineering. Despite this seemingly high number who subscribe to that stereotypical idea of science, we found that a very small number of our respondents feel unwanted in their major because of their gender. From this, we concluded that while some NC State students are aware of and agree with gender-based stereotypes, they likely do not act on them or feel affected by them. References: References Adler, P. A., Kless, S. J., and Adler, P. (1992). “Socialization of Gender Roles: Popularity Among Elementary School Boys and Girls.” Sociology of Education , 65 (3): 169-187. Aimée, S. (2009). “Never Meant to Survive, a Black Woman’s Journey: An Interview with Evelynn Hammonds.” Women Science, and Technology , 2: 31-39. Barbercheck, M. “Chapter 10: Science, Sex, and Stereotypical Images in Scientific Advertising.” 118-132. Cohn, C. (1987). “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society , 12 (4): 687-718. Trauger, A. and Brasier, K. (2010). “‘Our Market is Our Community’: Women Farmers and Civic Agriculture in Pennsylvania, USA.” Agriculture and Human Values , 27: 43-55. Earle, Sylvia. (2013). “In Her Words: Sylvia Earle on Women in Science.” Valenzuela, JR., A. (1999). “Gender Roles and Settlement Activities Among Children and Their Immigrant Families.” American Behavioral Scientist , 42 (4): 720-742. Witt, S. D. “Parental Influence on Children’s Socialization to Gender Roles.”

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