Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Report on STEM and Women

The Department of Commerce is getting into the gender act now with a report on the lack of women involved in STEM careers.  From the Executive Summary (note at the end they talk about some causes - but key is still how to teach content in a way that engages girls more.)

Our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Yet women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce. That leaves an untapped opportunity to expand STEM employment in the United States, even as there is wide agreement that the nation must do more to improve its competitiveness.
• Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.
• Women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs – considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.
• Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.
• Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation; they are more likely to work in education or healthcare.
There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gender Difference with Emotions and Memory

Recent research that claims that men and women experience and remember negative emotion events differently.  This can impact the classroom when reading a text, viewing a video, or showing video clips and then having  a discussion, completing an assignment, or later taking a test.  Teachers need to consider the types of questions asked and the details desired.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gender and Mental Illnesses

This article looks at how gender and mental illness intersect.  It is interesting that other professions are considering how gender impacts their field and what can be learned from this.  However, in education, there is great controversy over the application of gender to benefit classroom instruction and interaction with students due to potential stereotyping.

Single Gender Education in Missouri

An article about a single-gender program in Kansas City, Missouri.  Year and year there are stories about schools turning to single-gender options.  However, adopting single-gender will not address potential gender based achievement gaps.  Schools as a whole have to take on this issue, not just teachers when they are teaching in a single-gender classroom.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

STEM for Girls: High Tech High Heels

Edweek blogs about a STEM program for girls and funding that they just received.  The program is called, High Tech High Heels.  You can visit it here:  Is this program creating a single-gender environment to better engage girls, trying to create a name playing on stereotypes or breaking stereotypes, or just seeking funding?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gender and Alcohol

Another article about the intersection of gender and the medical community - in this case alcohol.  Better understanding how gender can impact our lives can help the variety of professions best meet needs.  Or is this stereotyping?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

China and Girls

China is focusing on girls and their dropout rate and lower literacy.  This seems to be clearly a case of cultural influences upon the performance of students.  Which goes to the case that gender differences in achievement across the world is NOT a biologically hardwired issue or even a purely cultural issue.  Both are important.  But only recognizing that gender impacts the performance of boys and girls within a specific time and place will we all begin moving forward.

Gender, Culture and Math

How do gender, culture and use of mathematical procedures interact.  Interesting that there are differences within the United States sample.  Overall the authors claim that differences are not as pronounced as thought, but we know from recent performance data that math achievement gaps between males and females are small.  The key not is to find out why we are losing females from pursuing higher level math classes and from performance in upper level math classes.  I suspect it has to do with "connection."
 From the abstract: 
This study examined the gender differences of U.S. and Chinese students in their solution processes of solving routine and nonroutine mathematical problems. Results of the study showed that overall there were statistically significant gender differences (favoring males) on both routine and nonroutine problem solving for the U.S. sample, but not for the Chinese sample. However, examinations of students' component processes (translation, integration, planning, and execution) for solving routine problems revealed that significant gender differences only exist for the execution component (computation skills) for the U.S. sample. A more elaborate qualitative analysis of student responses to nonroutine problems showed that male and female students exhibit many similarities in their solution processes of solving nonroutine problems. The present study suggests gender differences in solution processes for solving routine and nonroutine mathematical problems are not as pronounced as were found in previous research.

Single Gender Education in Indiana

And the articles about single-gender start for the year. Hopefully this one is legal.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Note Taking and Gender Differences

Dissertation on gender differences and note taking and related performance.
From the abstract:
Results indicated that females recorded more information in notes and recall than males. Females also performed significantly better on measures of transcription fluency, working memory, verbal ability, and conscientiousness.
Perhaps there is a combination of expectations, seriousness toward schooling, and/or a potential female tendency to gather more details.  Perhaps we need to be sure to make graphic organizers available for all students, especially males?