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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
GENDER DIFFERENCES IN GRADUATE STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES ON THE CULTURE OF SCIENCE
Maria M. Ferreira
Wayne State University, College of Education, Teacher Education Division
In this study, gender differences in graduate students’ perspectives on the culture of science were examined in two graduate departments (biology and chemistry) at a large research university. Data from a survey questionnaire from 170 students and interviews with 32 of them indicated that the culture of science as experienced by the participants of this study was characterized by competition, a narrow focus, and a belief in objectivity. These perspectives were particularly common among the female students, who also perceived a role conflict between a successful career in science and having a family. The study shows that although women have greater access to careers in science, the culture of the scientific enterprise continues to be based on the masculine ideals of 17th-century England.
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