Underrepresentation Of Women In Science And Engineering Sociology

essay A+

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Womans run the hazard of dawdling behind in the Fieldss of scientific discipline and technology. A broad spread exists between work forces and adult females in these Fieldss. Womans tend to hold overrepresentation in societal scientific disciplines and humanistic disciplines, and underrepresentation in scientific discipline and technology. Although the figure of adult females in the Fieldss has grown steadily, adult females remain underrepresented at high degrees of these professions. Social norms, civilization and attitudes, play a important function in sabotaging the function of adult females in the aforesaid Fieldss. In many instances, the accomplishment and excellence of adult females are measured utilizing male oriented criterions. Even for those that excel, their wages are in many instances dissimilar with their male opposite numbers. However, states can utilize several recommendations that can assist hike the presence of adult females in these Fieldss. Inclusion of adult females in scientific discipline and technology is a important factor that can significantly speed up technological promotion in the modern-day society.


Underrepresentation of Women in Science and Engineering

There is a pronounced underrepresentation of adult females in scientific discipline and technology although the modern-day society demands engineering most society. Science and technology are historically Harmonizing to statistics revealed by Blasdell ( 19 ) ; over 50 per centum of the population is composed of adult females of whom 44 per centum is in the work force but merely 13 per centum in scientific discipline and technology. Recruitment of adult females in scientific discipline and engineering can assist extenuate the drain of technology endowment through the proviso important resources. However, several barriers impede this inclusion and / or promotion of adult females in scientific discipline and technology.

Challenges and Reasons for Underrepresentation

Social norms and civilization come as the most important factors hindering the promotion of adult females male dominated professions. Traditions, values and manners thin and accommodate the male gender has shaped the civilization in SET Fieldss. The civilization is non suited for the demands of adult females in societal and learning environments. From clip immemorial, adult females are regarded as caretakers where their work is basically taking attention of their households. This societal norm leads to a stereotyped position on adult females where many work forces regard the abilities of adult females in these Fieldss negatively. As documented by Bystydzienski ( 24 ) , many work forces respond negatively on the capableness of adult females to stand out in proficient ( scientific discipline ) and technology Fieldss. The social norms dictate that a adult female can non be successful as a female parent and a married woman while in these calling waies. Harmonizing to the International Labor Organization, scientific discipline and technology are associated with permeant gender functions that encourage adult females to prosecute in ‘soft ‘ topics ( hawks and Joan 250 ) . This undermines the excellence of adult females in the aforesaid Fieldss.

Additionally, adult females who take SET callings are associated with a loss of muliebrity in their societies ( Hall 82 ) . This impedes their development in the Fieldss since they may experience that their intuitive and inventive manners do non suit to scientific research. Female pigeonholing besides is a cardinal component among societal norms that impede the achievements of adult females in SET. Women scientists are normally featured as untypical adult females and untypical scientists. This implies that, non merely is their ‘deficiency ‘ in scientific discipline attacked, but besides their gender individuality. Female norms are more associated with coaction than competition. However, the social norms set by work forces are more competitory than they are collaborative. However, adult females are oriented towards win-win scenes ( Bystydzienski 39 ) . The fight and desire to turn out oneself significantly impedes the desire of adult females to progress in these calling Fieldss.

Legal systems to a lesser extent than norms affect adult females ‘s excellence in scientific discipline and technology. In several states, anti-discriminatory Torahs require that universities offer differential entry conditions for adult females. However, the failing of the legal systems in several other states ( particularly developing 1s ) has left adult females at a disadvantage in the inclusion of scientific discipline and technology plans. Legal trends promote establishments to relieve favoritism and other institutional norms and patterns that bar adult females from prosecuting in SET classs. However, with high degrees of female pigeonholing in different societies, adult females still lag behind in their promotion, in these Fieldss ( Steel and Emily 91 ) .

Female Dominant Science Fields

Although few adult females re found in the technology field, there are other scientific discipline Fieldss where there is a ample figure. Nursing is one of the most outstanding scientific discipline professions where adult females are found. Nursing, as a scientific discipline, attracts a important figure of female pupils. Additionally, this field has besides been stereotyped, and it is more associated with adult females than with work forces. One factor that leads to a high figure of female nurses is the negative attitude that a adult male will look unmanfully if he joins the class. Hawks and Joan ( 257 ) add that adult females are capable of interacting better with other people than work forces are. This implies that adult females can interact with patients more expeditiously in infirmaries than work forces can. Additionally, nursing combines feminine values with professional values of support and attention. Furthermore, adult females are at an added advantage of taking nursing classs since in many instances, work forces are excluded.

Academic Achievement of Women in SET

The academic accomplishment of adult females in scientific discipline and technology remains low. The accomplishment of adult females in the Fieldss hesitations particularly instantly after the entry in the first twelvemonth in universities. Harmonizing to Hall ( 102 ) , of the 40 per centum of the pupils who entered university in 2010 in USA, 11 per centum were female. Once they join establishments of higher acquisition, their public presentation may besides deteriorate significantly. Lack of assurance in their capableness to equilibrate household duties and scientific discipline calling significantly influences their academic accomplishments in the Fieldss. Additionally, the portraiture of scientific discipline and technology male-oriented classs exacerbate their frights of their excellence. Additionally, in undergraduate scientific discipline and technology categories, adult females in many instances feel isolated. They besides feel resented by their male opposite numbers since they think that their sentiments are non respected by their male opposite numbers. Furthermore, adult females who have high degrees of assurance in scientific discipline and engineering schoolrooms elicit negative responses from their male opposite numbers. Harmonizing to sociologists, adult females besides express lower degrees of self-pride than work forces in these Fieldss do. The combination of these effects affects the academic accomplishment of adult females negatively. Many adult females will be given to dissemble their academic abilities to hedge disaffection and guarantee that they achieve societal success. Hawks and Joan ( 108 ) add that adult females win credence through the loss of personal footings. As he observes, adult females who achieve extremely in these Fieldss are likely to lose their gender functions. To avoid this, adult females recede to standard gender functions. In such a state of affairs, adult females do non inquire many inquiries or research alternate option, but instead, they pursue and follow what they are taught. This significantly affects their academic accomplishment and thy terminal up dawdling behind their male opposite numbers. To worsen the state of affairs, even with their premise of standard gender functions, the presence of adult females in a scientific discipline or technology category draws a batch of attending ( Steel and Emily 125 ) . This flood with societal attending creates uncomfortable larning environment that may interfere with their academic accomplishment and/or advancement.

In America, adult females presently earn about 41 per centum of PhDs in SET Fieldss but make about 28 per centum of the work force in these Fieldss. As observed by Nut, the low figure of adult females involved in the work force is because of high dropout rate in SET field. Decreasing the dropout rate of adult females in SET callings is significantly indispensable in the chase for gender equality since adult females in SET occupations earn about 35 per centum more than in non-SET Fieldss ( Blaisdell 24 ) .

Cross-gender Disparity in Salaries

Albeit the battle for equality in all Fieldss of life, there still exists a broad disparity between the wages of male and adult females workers. In the Fieldss of scientific discipline and technology, this disparity is extremely marked. Datas collected through the nose count in the United States depict a important unsimilarity between the workers in these Fieldss. In 1999, the mean wage for female scientists and applied scientists was about 22 per centum less than that of their male opposite numbers. However, this was regarded as a important addition since this reflected a 25 per centum addition from the figures posted in 1993. In 1999, among scientists and applied scientists who had held their grades for less than 5 old ages, adult females earned 83 per centum of what work forces earned. Salary derived function at this clip depended on the field. In life scientific disciplines, adult females earned 23 per centum lesser than their male opposite numbers while in, computing machine scientific discipline, the difference was 12 per centum. However, the difference has reduced over the old ages. In 2009, independent studies by Glassdoor revealed that adult females earned about 93.7 per centum of what work forces earned. This applied for those who had nothing to three old ages of experience. For scientists and applied scientists who had more than ten old ages of experience, adult females earned about 89.1 per centum of what work forces earned. Another study conducted in 2012 reveals that the spread is steadily being close, albeit at a significantly slow gait. Women scientists and applied scientists with nothing to three old ages of experient earned 95.2 per centum of what their male opposite numbers earned. For those with over 10 old ages of experience, adult females earned 92.6 per centum of what work forces earned. Albeit the underrepresentation, it is apparent that the salary spread is being closed. Factors such as accent on equality between work forces and adult females play a notable function in altering these kineticss. Additionally, pigeonholing and favoritism are decreasing, and these Fieldss are now more cross-gender than they used to be several decennaries ago ( Hall 124-130 ) .

Cross-cultural Differences in Status of Women in SET

The position of adult females in scientific discipline is in many instances vary from civilization to civilization. This is because the norms observed by one civilization may be different from those of another civilization. Surveies conducted by Blaisdell ( 29 ) indicate a broad disparity in the manner different civilizations uphold adult females in scientific discipline and technology. These differences are more marked in societies that have stuck to their traditions than in the modernised societies. Among the African Americans and other black societies, gender functions are extremely emphasized. This implies that adult females are expected to take attention of their households while their male opposite numbers act as breadwinners. On this note, adult females need to keep their muliebrity in these societies. In these societies, a calling in scientific discipline and technology is extremely associated with a loss of muliebrity. In this respect, adult females are regarded negatively in these societies one time they take to science and technology. This cultural stereotyping has significantly contributed to a few black adult females acquiring involved in scientific discipline and engineering. Through adult females empowerment, the figure of adult females taking callings in scientific discipline and engineering in several other civilizations or societies has increased. Western civilizations are going more broad and, therefore, more adult females are being accepted into these male dominated callings. This addition can be attributed to less rigorous cultural norms, fundamental laws advancing equity and detering favoritism and authorities schemes advancing inclusion of adult females. Harmonizing to statistics posted by the United Nations ( quoted in Blaidell 30 ) , the Asiatic communities ( particularly in the United States ) have the highest figure of adult females scientists and applied scientists. Among the Asiatic communities, SET ( scientific discipline, technology and engineering ) classs are considered portion of the community. Although their civilization besides emphasizes on gender functions on adult females, they show important liberalism sing adult females prosecuting in scientific discipline and engineering. The above observation indicates that, in societies where cultural norms, favoritism and stereotyping are high, figure of adult females come ining into the field of scientific discipline and technology is less and frailty versa.

Opportunities for Women in SET

Regardless of the challenges, adult females prosecuting in SET Fieldss have a multiplicity of chances. In the United States, the authorities has increased its attempt in holding adult females included in Set plans. Through affirmatory actions, the entry criterions for adult females into university in SET Fieldss are lower than for work forces. This is promoting an extra figure of adult females engage in scientific discipline and technology. Additionally, other governmental and non-governmental research centres are including more adult females than it was a few old ages ago. Additionally, these institutes engage in runs and preparations to raise the figure of adult females in scientific discipline and technology. For illustration, through the Executive Office of the President, NASA was involved in a national convention to promote misss and adult females to prosecute in SET. Through their presence, misss had hands-on experience on NASA activities to animate them in prosecuting SET callings ( Steel and Emily 200 ) .


Based on the challenges confronting adult females in SET, a batch remains undone. Several recommendations can assist increase the presence of adult females in SET. First, the civilization and societal norms should be redefined to hold an increased figure of adult females in SET. As noted by Bystydzienski ( 209 ) , adult females need foremost to set to the system with the system in which they have modest anterior cognition. In this respect, adult females need to develop get bying schemes to hold high representation in this field. Additionally, the cultural and societal norms of the modern societies should alter. Pigeonholing and favoritism at entry degree in universities are some of the most important challenges for adult females wishing to prosecute in SET classs. With authorities schemes, favoritism and stereotyping can be reduced therefore increasing the figure of adult females in SET. Furthermore, a alteration in the fight in SET can assist increase the figure of adult females. Harmonizing to Blaisdell ( 21 ) , dissatisfaction and bullying arise among adult females when faced by fight at work. To extenuate this job, group activities and non-threatening environments should be encouraged. Additionally, criterions for appraisal should be reduced to assist adult females experience integrated. Furthermore, connected instruction can assist incorporate adult females in scientific discipline and technology. In affiliated categories, truth is constructed through consensus, but non conflict. This helps cut down bullying among adult females.


Inclusion of adult females in scientific discipline and technology can assist in the growing of invention. However, adult females are significantly underrepresented in SET Fieldss. Social norms and some oppressive legal systems have been found to lend to this underrepresentation. Even for adult females who advance in these callings, a pronounced disparity exists between their wages and those of their female opposite numbers. However, adult females, through authorities attempts, have a multiplicity of chances in progressing in these Fieldss. As identified, several schemes can be used to still the challenges adult females face in SET Fieldss. The inclusion of adult females in SET Fieldss is important for growing of invention therefore extra adult females should be encouraged to fall in SET classs.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member