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Women's Science: Learning and Succeeding from the Margins - Softcover

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9780226195452: Women's Science: Learning and Succeeding from the Margins
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Are there any places where women succeed in science? Numerous studies in recent years have documented and lamented a gender gap in science and engineering. From elementary school through college, women's interest in science steadily declines, and as adults, they are less likely to pursue careers in science-related fields.

Women's Science offers a dramatic counterpoint not only to these findings but also to the related, narrow assumption that "real science" only occurs in research and laboratory investigation. This book describes women engaged with science or engineering at the margins: an innovative high school genetics class; a school-to-work internship for prospective engineers, an environmental action group, and a nonprofit conservation agency. In these places—where people use or rely on science for public, social, or community purposes—the authors found a remarkably high proportion of women. Moreover, these women were successful at learning and using technical knowledge, they advanced in roughly equal percentages to men, and they generally enjoyed their work.

Yet, even in these more marginal workplaces, women had to pay a price. Working outside traditional laboratories, they enjoy little public prestige and receive significantly less financial compensation. Although most employers claimed to treat men and women equally, women in fact only achieved success when they acted like male professionals.

Women's Science is an original and provocative contribution that expands our conception of scientific practice as it reconfigures both women's role in science and the meaning of science in contemporary society.

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From Publishers Weekly:
In both recent studies and popular media articles, the opportunities?or lack thereof?for women and girls in science and engineering have received increased attention, as policymakers, parents and educators have sought to close the gender gap in schools and workplaces. Eisenhart, a professor of education and anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder (and coauthor of Educated in Romance: Women, Achievement, and Campus Culture), and Finkel, a high school science teacher, provide a new perspective on the issue. Rather than look at research agencies and laboratory settings, where women are severely underrepresented, they focus on the "margins": a high school genetics class, an internship for engineers, an environmental action group and a nonprofit conservation agency. By studying these sectors, generally less well remunerated, they find a higher percentage of women doing science work, but they also discover numerous problems, such as a standard expectation for female scientists to "act like men" in order to succeed, and a false environment of gender neutrality. Even the women presented here who do prevail do so against discrimination and unwarranted obstacles. Beyond describing individual struggles, however, the authors expertly delve into the definition of science itself, and how science is presented in school as a male-driven construction. For those seeking to gain a fuller and more expansive understanding of women's place in the fields of science and engineering, this is an extraordinarily important work.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal:
Although younger boys and girls show comparable math and science skills, in high school there is a dramatic shift in favor of boys. Eisenhart (education/anthropology, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder; Educated in Romance: Women, Achievement, and Campus Culture, LJ 9/1/90) and science writer Finkel looked at four science-based programsAa high school genetics class, an internship program for engineers, an environmental group, and a conservation agencyAwith high female representation. Even in these unusual programs, women were paid less than men and "only achieved success when they acted like male professionals." Unfortunately, the authors seem to define "acting like male professionals" as working long hours, taking on difficult assignments, and sacrificing other activities in order to accomplish the job. They contend that women tend to select more flexible programs and occupations so that they can fulfill other obligations. Intriguing yet finally depressing, their arguments would have been clearer with a little less jargon. Nevertheless, their book should provide fodder for some interesting arguments.AHilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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  • PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
  • Publication date1998
  • ISBN 10 0226195457
  • ISBN 13 9780226195452
  • BindingPaperback
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages290
  • Rating
    3.5 avg rating
    ( 4 ratings by Goodreads )

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