Being a Woman in The World of Physics Education

Abstract

Gender Equality is undoubtedly one of the crucial discussions we are having as a society, since the past century. Science Educators can’t stay aside due to the relationship between STEM and women: In OECD countries, only 30% of degrees in the aforementioned area go to women. Education plays a fundamental role in changing the deeply ingrained social conceptions and unresolved issues regarding Gender Equality and, in a broader perspective, Human Rights. Therefore, teachers must be aware of their role and beliefs on the matter. The present manuscript address in an exploratory, qualitative level, the views of a group of Chilean female physics student teachers regards their own educational experience and projections as science educators, unraveling their understandings, doubts, hopes, and concerns. We performed in deep interviews, analyzed their discourse, and provided a group of ten categories of findings. The main domains of study were: parity, stereotyping, gender equality definition, and gender equality perspective in education; meanwhile the emergent categories were: naïve view of gender issues, self-sabotage, sexist behavior, parity, working environment, self-learning processes, informed view of gender issues, access, future students’ learning processes, and expectations, of which the last was the most frequently addressed by our subjects. Each category is fully explained and supported by examples. Our findings are coherent with the current literature. We were able to define a clear profile of this particular group of our society: female students that are aware of gender issues in education, although with a lack of theoretical framework. Finally, it was interesting to find evidence about how females perceive gender issues regard their male classmates as well. The relationship between their experiences and the prolongation of gender issues is discussed.

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