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About Girls' "Difficulties" in Science: A Social, Not a Personal Matter


by Donna B. Jeffe — 1995

The perception that girls historically have had a difficult time in science and math is commonly accepted by educators and laypeople alike. Yet the historical nature of these difficulties is questionable. Current debates on sex-segregated science and math classes, receiving considerable attention in the popular press and academic education circles in recent months, seem to be founded on a misunderstanding of what girls?“historical difficulties?actually were. The historical, social, and political context of women’s experience in science serves to challenge the stereotype that girls “historically? have had a difficult time in math and science. Further alluding to the nature of women’s difficulties as historical and personal, without a critical analysis of the sociopolitical parameters of women’s experience, serves to perpetuate stereotypes about women rather than militate against obstacles created by them.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 97 Number 2, 1995, p. 206-226
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 1407, Date Accessed: 3/23/2017 6:09:55 PM

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About the Author
  • Donna Jeffe
    Washington University School of Medicine
    Donna J. Jeffe is a postdoctoral fellow in medicine, Center for Health Behavior Research, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. She is the coauthor, with M. Freiman and E.B. Fisher, Jr., of "Women's Reasons for Using Postmenopausal Hormone-Replacement Therapy: Preventive Medicine or Therapeutic Aid," Menopause, Fall 1995.
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