Australian Journal of Education
School of Education
The visibility of female role models in science is vital for engaging and retaining women in scientific fields. In this study, we analyse four senior secondary science courses delivered across the states and territories in Australia: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Physics. We compared male and female representation within the science courses by examining the mentions of male and female scientists along with the context of their inclusions in the syllabuses. We find a clear gender bias with only one unique mention of a female scientist. We also find a clear Eurocentric focus and narrow representation of scientists. This bias will contribute to the continuing low engagement of women in scientific fields. We outline possible solutions to address this issue, including the accreditation of scientific discoveries to include female scientists and explicit discussion of structural barriers preventing the participation and progression of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
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