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Gender-segregated science classrooms.

Judy biojas at lure.latrobe.edu.au
Tue Jun 6 01:08:14 EST 1995

In article <3pvnag$ht8 at canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca>, BEDA2C at LAB_3C12.UWINNIPEG.CA (BEDA2C) says:
>Hi, all you female scientists!
>        I'm a education student at the University of Winnipeg, in Manitoba, 
>Canada.  A controversy has recently arisen in our fair city over the 
>proposed segregation of junior-high science and math classes in one of our 
>schools.  We've discussed this at length-- pros and cons-- and I wonder if 
>any of you have any comments.  Did you find that boys were favored over 
>girls in your science and math classes?  Why did you decide to pursue a 
>career in biology if (as this school of ours seems to assume) girls are 
>systematically discouraged from the sciences?  Or is this school of ours 
>making false assumptions about the way girls are treated in science and math 
>        Thanks in advance for any reply
>        (and I really hope to get one or two--I'm curious!)
>        Lana Klassen

Like several other respondants, I also went to school in New Zealand and 
I found (15 years ago) that the careers adviser at my school was the 
biggest problem. I was lucky to have a 
female science teacher for 2 years and she really encouraged me to go into
Biochemistry.  When I expressed this desire to my careers adviser, he was 
plainly horrified and strongly suggested that I "stick with the shorthand and typing
 because there are lots of jobs for secretaries." Or, alternatively, I could
work in a bank "but really they do prefer boys."  Fifteen years on I am nearing 
the end of my PhD and glad that I didnt take his advice. On the whole everyone 
else along the way has been pretty supportive, but I think someone else's comment
about us being the tough survivers is probably correct. It is easy to be put off
in the early stages of science if you are lacking confidence or a strong
support network - family, friends etc or perhaps more importantly, a role 
model or mentor.  I prefer education and enlightenment for all to segregation.

Rosalie Cull
R.Cull at latrobe.edu.au

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