In the popular heteronormative imagination, the seminal figures in the history of science are overwhelming male, while the work of female scientists who were equally transformative in their disciplines is largely unknown. The lack of female role models is just one of many barriers that deter girls from pursuing a career in the sciences. Although many young women enter undergraduate courses, they are concentrated in fields such as biology, psychology and nutrition. Far fewer enter fields such as engineering, physics, and computer science, and fewer still pursue graduate degrees and science careers. Throughout this course we will explore research on topics such as the “leaky pipeline”, gender stereotypes, explicit and implicit bias, and how motherhood affects women's careers. A key part of this course will be to learn and tell the untold stories of key female scientists from a variety of scientific disciplines and to link their history to the issues faced by women in science today. We won’t just examine the challenges to women’s success in STEM fields, we will explore how we can support and sustain girls’ interests in STEM and how we create equitable workplaces.

Course Objectives

  1. Develop familiarity with the literature on the history of women in science and studies on (positive and negative) factors affecting women's participation in science.
  2. Develop skills to critically analyze and evaluate course readings and link it to current issues affecting women in science.
  3. Gain knowledge and skills, including tools and techniques, to improve participation of women in science.