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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