The number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) directions and sectors is increasing – slowly but surely. In other words: the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is no longer a stronghold of man. Unfortunately, this has not eliminated sexual stereotypes, according to a recent US study. And the more women active in this field, the more likely it was that the specialty would be called “soft science.”
“Gender bias influences whether we call the scientific disciplines ‘soft science’ or ‘hard science’.” In a contribution to the British science platform The Conversation, Associate Professor of Psychology Alison Light came straight to the point. She and her colleagues have conducted research on gender representation in STEM disciplines. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It covers all courses and sectors of technology, technology, exact sciences and mathematics.
In a series of experiments, American researchers provided participants with information about women’s representation in fields such as chemistry, sociology, and biomedical sciences. Then they asked them to classify these disciplines as “soft sciences” or “hard sciences.” The term “soft science” is often used to refer to those branches of scientific research that rely more on qualitative conjecture and analysis than on a strict adherence to the scientific method. On the other hand, in hard sciences, experiments are centralized, which are carefully controlled and reproduced.
“Across all studies, participants were more likely to describe a discipline as ‘soft science’ if they became convinced that there were relatively more women working in that field,” Light said. In addition, the ‘soft science’ label led people to devalue These areas – they have been described as less comprehensive, less reliable, and less suitable for funding public research.”
So stereotypes about women in science, mathematics, technology, and engineering persist. These stereotypes can lead to areas in which these women’s work is seen as inferior. For example, even science and math jobs can become pink-collar jobs, that is, jobs that are predominantly female and involve low salaries,” Alison Smith said.
When women make up more than a quarter of graduate students in a major, men — and to a lesser extent women — become less interested in that major. Salaries often go down.
Previous research showed that such stereotypes were less prevalent among those who studied sciences with many female students, such as biological sciences. Smith notes that in more technical trends, those gender biases were stronger. “But our studies are consistent with previous studies that indicate that the increased participation of women in a particular field of work causes us to view this sector as inferior.”
“When women make up more than 25 percent of graduate students in a major, men—and to a lesser extent women—become less interested in that major, and salaries tend to be lower. Other studies have shown that the same job earns a lower salary when placed in” The female field” compared to the job listed in the “male field.”
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Read more about research here.
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