Specialist Talks: Abstracts
An explanation why women are underrepresented in almost all fields of science, requires a multi-dimensional approach. In my presentation, physics and physicists will be in the focus of the stories and studies on which my line of argument draws, but scientists from other fields will recognize distinctive patterns without difficulty.
In analyzing how gender differences are produced and maintained we need to make connections between findings about scientific social and organizational practices, the historical formation of scientific institutions and the shaping of collectively shared epistemological premises.
In 1995, one of the pioneering scholars on “gender and science”, Evelyn Fox Keller, suggested to distinguish this evolving research field into a range of different perspectives. In her view, looking at the participation of women in science differed profoundly from critical investigations on how gender is embedded in scientific knowledge. Until today, similar distinctions of the field »gender and science« shape research and politics: Reaching gender equity in science on the one hand and establishing research programs and policies for investigating gender within scientific knowledge on the other hand are being viewed as distinctive endeavors.
Over the last 25 years we can emphasize an increasing proportion of women at all levels at universities in Germany. However, despite the undisputed progress being made, remarkable gender disparities still exist in many disciplines – disparities which often are described with the metaphors of a leaky pipeline and/or the class ceiling effect. A comparative view of various subjects shows observable differences and similarities concerning “their” current gender disparities, as well as their persistence or change. We for example can see that the developments in mathematics and physics over the last decades suggests parallels (in relation to the class ceiling effect) as well as differences (with regard to the leaky pipeline).Read more...
While many women receive an equally good education as men, such equality is nowhere in sight when it comes to women’s and men’s career success: Men still earn significantly more than women, they are more likely to be promoted, and women are underrepresented in many traditionally-male fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Why does an excellent education not lead to an excellent career for many women? The talk offers a state of the art review of applied social-psychological research on “gender at work”, shedding light on all the different ways that work-related perceptions, attributions, and outcomes differ for women and men. Focusing on domains (e.g., engineering) and positions (e.g., leadership) that are marked by women’s underrepresentation, the talk looks at gender at work in terms of own and others’ stereotypes, attitudes, and social roles including parenthood. Whereas gender stereotypes appear to be a thing of the past to some people, research shows that they actually affect people in many ways, both in choosing their own actions and in evaluating and interpreting others’ behavior. Studies will be introduced that demonstrate how in particular implicit stereotypes affect spontaneous, automatic, and habitual behavior. In the end, it is discussed what individual women can do to avoid the hurdles that stereotypes and social roles put in their way towards successful careers.