Why so few?

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Why so few?

by Clayman Institute on Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 4:02pm

Shelley CorrellThe answer to the question of  "Why so few?" for women in science, technology, and engineering is top of mind for many administrators, managers, and community leaders. The AAUW put together a 100+ page report summarizing great thinking on this topic, titled: Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Included in the report is the work of two Stanford faculty, Professors Shelley Correll and Carol Dweck. Professor of Sociology and Clayman Institute Incoming Director (September 2010), Correll, researches the ways in which  gendered expectations differentially shape the everyday experiences of men and women (or boys and girls) in achievement-oriented settings. Her work looks at the influence of cultural beliefs that math and science are masculine fields. AAUW recommends that we encourage high school girls to take calculus, physics, chemistry, computer science, and engineering classes where available. Based on Correll's 2001 research, girls who took calculus in high school were more than three times as likely as girls who did not take calculus in high school to major in a STEM filed in college. Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professorof Psychology, is also a Clayman Institute faculty affiliate. Her research on motivation looks at the "growth mindset" (viewing intelligence as a changeable,  malleable, attribute that can be developed through effort) is likely to lead to more persistence than does the "fixed mindset" (viewing intelligence as an inborn, uncontrollable trait). These findings can be valuable to women and girls who face negative stereotypes and challenges in the STEM area. AAUW recommends that we teach children that intellectual skills can be acquired. Correll and Dweck are two of the ten researchers whose work was profiled in the report by AAUW report authors, Catherine Hill, Christianne Corbett and Andresse St. Rose.