#modphys 2/180: Gender Perceptions

Something interesting happened during a whiteboarding session with grade 6 today. See if you can spot it in the picture below:

2014-08-20 12.46.27


The girls at center and right drew a picture of a scientist to illustrate their board. Seizing the teaching moment, I asked why they drew a man: couldn’t women be scientists? Of course they could, was the indignant reply. One student quickly pointed out that many chefs are men, even though cooking is traditionally considered a woman’s job.

I told them that many of my best female friends were scientists, and fantastic ones at that. I also tried to explain that our picture of scientists being male is partly because men dominated the field historically.

I am going to put up a few pictures of great contemporary researchers (including women and “minorities”) around the classroom. Then, I will do the “Draw a scientist” test in a couple weeks to see what turns up. For these grade 6 students, I don’t see any evidence of a gender gap in enthusiasm, confidence, scientific skills, or content knowledge. Quite refreshing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s