The gender gap in physical sciences
To some extent, it would be improbable to say that our differences are explicable by merely cultural or social factors, since either sex should be designed by nature for different purposes (Boureau, 2005). Irrespective of prejudice and discrimination, stereotyping itself is a viewpoint taken based on group agreement, ‘where the easiest course for a stereotyped person is to stay within the bounds of those expectations’ (Fiske, 1993). Through enhanced ‘gender schemas’ within society we have cognitively created (Fiske, 1993) appear to determine our treatment of each sex, which may impact the individuals performance negatively by influencing their actual competence (Valian, 2006). Thereby an artificial ‘gender gap’ is created, which extends itself to the physical sciences. It is notable however that a distinguishment must be made between moral and empirical claims to determine a funtional patterns in society.
‘For Bem (1981), a gender schema is a person's general knowledge framework about gender, with which information is processed and organized based on gender-linked associations’ (Hyde and Durik, 2005). The nature argument to this is that to some extent these gender schemas can be biologically explained. A great number of studies have shown that the connectivity and ‘physical properties’ of the brains neurological network play a great role in determening cognitive abilities (Boureau, 2005). Most of these would argue that men have enhanced abilities in mental rotation, spacial navigation and mathematical problem solving, whereas women have more improved emotional recognition, social sensitivity, verbal fluency, visual memory and calculation skills (Boureau, 2005). It is notable however, that essentially neither of these attributes add up to one gender in overall being more advantagous than the other (Halpern, cited in Pinker & Spelke, 2005). Essentially, women are not absent in any particular area, but underrepresented in...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document