About this Research Topic
Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) rank among the fastest-growing career fields. An ongoing issue in STEM is the problem of gender inequality nearly across the whole life-span with an underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM education and professions. Such gender inequality in STEM is starting from school and vocational education, pertaining to adolescence and crucial life phases such as career orientation, career choices and profession.
Gender inequality concerns individual attitudes as well as behaviors: females and males, respectively boys and girls, differ with regard to self-concept, interest, motivation, and achievement in STEM fields. Asking for reasons for this phenomenon, STEM is often stereotypically reported as a male domain and such an assessment impacts on females’ self-concept for STEM as well as on their achievements in STEM subjects.
Looking at international comparison studies (e.g. PISA), there are several countries that show differences between males and females in mathematics and science achievements favoring males. However, there are some countries without differences and even some countries favoring females. Thus, these differences can hardly be attributed to an overarching concept of gender-specific STEM ability. This indicates that developmental processes shaping students’ attitudes and behaviors towards STEM are different for males and females. Such processes may be diminished or amplified by the individual and social context, e.g. by societal/cultural values and stereotypes, estimations of significant others (e.g. parents, peers), or school approaches like gender-sensitive didactics at school.
This Research Topic focuses on aspects that contribute to this gendered paths into STEM, to shedding light on individual and social factors underlying STEM participation attitudes, behaviors for STEM education, career choice, and professions in STEM. Topics of potential interest include and aim at revealing and discussing impact factors and phenomena starting from pre-primary school up to university studies and STEM professions. The aim is to facilitate the interaction between researchers from different backgrounds to submit their conceptual and empirical papers that would address one or more of the following topics.
Topics of potential interest include:
- the development/origins of STEM self-concept;
- development of individual attitudes and behaviors during time (e.g. achievements, motivation, interest);
- influence of social factors (parental or teacher support, peers, societal values, stereotypes, cross-cultural differences);
- factors that contribute to students’ decision towards or away from STEM education, studies, or profession;
- class phenomena (e.g. interactions in STEM courses);
- intervention methods (e.g. gender-sensitive teaching approaches, teacher support).
Keywords: Attributions, Self-concept, Motivation, Didactics, Occupational choices
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