By John S. Rosenberg
Are you a female STEM student (or wannabe STEM student) suffering from a stereotype infection? Then, according to new research recently described in Inside Higher Ed ("Inoculation Against Stereotype"), you should take a course from a female instructor to inoculate yourself.
found notable benefits for female students (and for male students as well, though to a lesser degree) to being taught by women -- and may point to strategies that would keep more women in STEM fields. The idea behind the research is that certain strategies "inoculate" female students against the sense that they don't belong or are not likely to succeed in math and science courses..... Dasgupta said that the evidence suggests that women who are exposed to women doing math and science successfully end up with "stereotype inoculation" in which they gain confidence. The obvious solution from the new research -- which Dasgupta said wasn't realistic -- would be to have only women teach introductory STEM courses.
that the meaning of choices, of what it means to choose math or science, is more complicated. Even talented people may not choose math or science not because they don't like it or are not good at it, but because they feel that they don't belong.
A generation ago, for example, in its spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to hold Sears, Roebuck responsible for the "underrepresentation" of women in such jobs as installing home heating and cooling systems, ... Alice Kessler Harris, a prominent women's historian, ... testified that ... women's own choices and interests have nothing to do with the jobs they take. In fact, she was so hostile to the idea that the system leaves women any room at all to choose that she insisted on placing the terms "choice" and "women's interests" in quotes, and even went so far as to deny that women themselves choose their own major subjects in college or that women business owners choose the types of businesses they own.
that the enormous costs involved in trying to find, create, cajole, hire, promote, etc., more women and black and Hispanic scientists will produce more top flight scientists than would recruiting even more decidedly not "underrepresented" Asians and Jews? .... If we need more scientists, we need them of whatever hue or sex....