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Journal Articles Journal of Chemical Education Year : 2022

Rebalancing the historical female under-representation in education

N. Dietrich
Gaëlle Lebrun
Kalyani Kentheswaran
Mallorie Tourbin
Yolaine Bessière


Women are increasingly present in the field of engineering, and despite a significant female presence, it has been found that the programmes continue to make no reference to women scientists. In chemical engineering, for example, all the names of scientists mentioned in the programmes belong to men only. To test this hypothesis of the overrepresentation of men in the programmes, a series of random opinion surveys were launched among 600 students from 5 universities to find out whether they had noticed this over-representation and what they thought about it. The results showed that the vast majority did not realize that the scientists presented as examples in classes were all men. In fact, 90% of the student panel were unable to identify a woman in the chemical engineering field, and the remaining 10% could cite only one or two-who were among the most recent and had received most attention from the media. The issue of inequalities between girls and boys and between women and men in education remains central to understanding and combating gender inequalities and to enabling people to develop as persons free from the limitations imposed on them by gender stereotypes. However, these inequalities cannot be explained exclusively by the issue of access to education but must also take the type and content of education into account. This article is a call for reflection on the content of university curricula and has a twofold objective: on the one hand, to raise awareness of this imbalance in representation among students, both male and female, and, on the other hand, to launch reflection on this "invisibility of women" and to propose some avenues for debate.
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Dates and versions

hal-03666841 , version 1 (12-05-2022)



N. Dietrich, Gaëlle Lebrun, Kalyani Kentheswaran, Mathias Monnot, Patrick Loulergue, et al.. Rebalancing the historical female under-representation in education. Journal of Chemical Education, 2022, 99 (6), pp.2298-2309. ⟨10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c01218⟩. ⟨hal-03666841⟩
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