Research professionals find two principal groups of gender barriers that confront women in the science and technology classroom: disabling stereotypes regarding gender suitable behavior, and explicit and implicit gender partialities inside the classroom. In every category of gender barriers are present several practices that cumulatively dishearten women from joining these nontraditional spheres. (an Educator's Guide to Gender Bias Issues)
Research professionals indicate that children possess an internal belief system regarding "suitable" careers in their favor to join at the youngest age's right from kindergarten. Thereafter they hold with them these belief systems all through their educational careers and also into their adult job phases. Every year these beliefs become more deep-seated. Thus it is crucial that these disparities within the current educational systems be looked at and removed so that every child is readied to fill our growing job demands. While during the pre-college stages disabling stereotypes which disqualify the wishes of girls for future careers in science, math, and technology comprise the following:
i) a consideration that there is biological basis to gender performance in science, math and technology. (ii) Associating computers, technology and science with masculinity and male domains (iii) a competitive, but not cooperative learning atmosphere which renders it hard for girls to resolve their wishes to do better for the society with a future career in science, math and technology. (v) Gender stereotyped manufacturing and promotion of computer games and educational software. Likewise it is also found that gender biases are present at the kindergarten right through high school level which is the cause for the desire for girls to shun away from science, math and technology courses and careers. These biases are identified as (i) the parents, teachers and mentors are not coming forward in order to encourage girls to take up science, math and technology classes and careers. (ii) Teachers are not equipped to teach science and technology. (Bridging the Gap: Gender Equity in Science, Engineering and Technology)
It is pertinent to consider that these two categories of inequality are not mutually exclusive. On the other hand, it is just the reverse. They are present inside our classrooms. This reproduces and reinforces their presence within the educational system. For instance, traditional beliefs that girls do not prefer math result in gender-biased behaviors wherein the math teachers might ask male students more compared to female students in class. There happen to be a belief deep rooted which is so pervasive that studies have displayed that during the period children join third grade they have an erroneous belief that girls are unable to perform math. Such false beliefs have source in 'scientific' studies and the popular media. Even the widely popular Newsweek came out with reports that math ability was biologically destined.
Independent researches have found out that studies claiming gender differences in math through the use of Scholastic Aptitude Tests - SAT have a lot of flaws. She held an argument that these studies consider that just because girls and boys are reading in the same math classes, it cannot be held that both of them had identical experiences in those classes. The National Research Council of the United States, showing proof from quite a number if studies, revealed that no difference exist in the performance of male and female students who took identical advantage of similar opportunities to read mathematics. Beliefs that the performance of girls are not well in math, take away the self-confidence of the girls in these disciplines. (Bridging the Gap: Gender Equity in Science, Engineering and Technology)
The expectations of the teachers can have a direct impact on student's class work and scholastic performance. Children meet the hopes of teachers. Teachers do not only impart academic syllabus, they also serve as sources of guidance, role modeling and mentoring. But from the initial stages, teachers frequently anticipate varied behaviors from their students, based singly on gender assumptions. The American Association of University Women - AAUW found that 71% of male teachers believe that their male students show more interest in the functioning of computer technology, whereas just 1% of male teachers consider that their female students are more interested. More than a third male teachers went on to believe that their male students were more interested in the applied uses and experiences with computers more than their female students would enjoy such activities. Female teachers had more chances to state that sex was not a factor to influence student's interest in science, math and technology. 60% of the female teachers discovered that boys and girls equally in their uses of technology. (Bridging the Gap: Gender Equity in Science, Engineering and Technology)
An Educator's Guide to Gender Bias Issues. Retrieved at http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/wp/access/gender.html. Accessed on 11 February, 2005
Gatta, Mary; Trigg, Mary. Bridging the Gap: Gender Equity in Science, Engineering and Technology. Rutgers University. 2001.
Retrieved at http://www.cww.rutgers.edu/dataPages/smet.pdf. Accessed on 11 February, 2005