In the context of the science in society studies, talking about young people is the best way to build bridges to the future.

In order to understand what do girls and boys think about the S&T professions and what is the present situation in terms of gender difference in Europe, a research‐action experience on S&T careers was developed. As part of the European project Gapp (Gender Awareness Participation Process, http://www.gendergapp.eu/), a sample of high school students’ and professionals engaged in academic or other science‐related careers was involved and interviewed.

How and where do gender differences come in to being in science and technology careers? What ideas motivate youngsters in choosing their professional future and how does the perception of scientific careers affect their interest, motivations and the choice of studies at school, in university and consequently in their jobs? What are the differences between girls and boys? These are central questions to answer through our research.

The research design consists in 48 focus group discussions with students, teachers and parents in six European countries (Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Poland). Furthermore, in the same countries, we conducted 60 in‐depth interviews with opinion leaders in the field of S&T (scientists at the top of their careers, research institutes directors, consultants, experts in gender issues), involving women and men in equal proportion. The aim is to understand their experience in the science and technology field and their opinion on the gender difference. Fields explored are mathematics, physics, IT, engineering, chemistry. Crossing the different targets, the faculty to become a good researcher is considered equal in men and women, while structural difficulties emerge for women compared with men at the higher levels of their career: S&T professions require a strong commitment, which is still an obstacle in the management of family life.

Despite diminishing prejudice levels in the possibility of success in S&T professions for women in the last decades, only deep changes in society are seen as a possible solution to strike a better balance. Interesting differences emerge among the different countries involved in the project.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Gapp
Science &Technology professions and gender differences in Europe

Federica Manzoli   Sissa, International School for Advanced Studies

Daniele Gouhtier   Sissa, International School for Advanced Studies

Donato Ramani   Sissa, International School for Advanced Studies

In the context of the science in society studies, talking about young people is the best way to build bridges to the future.

In order to understand what do girls and boys think about the S&T professions and what is the present situation in terms of gender difference in Europe, a research‐action experience on S&T careers was developed. As part of the European project Gapp (Gender Awareness Participation Process, http://www.gendergapp.eu/), a sample of high school students’ and professionals engaged in academic or other science‐related careers was involved and interviewed.

How and where do gender differences come in to being in science and technology careers? What ideas motivate youngsters in choosing their professional future and how does the perception of scientific careers affect their interest, motivations and the choice of studies at school, in university and consequently in their jobs? What are the differences between girls and boys? These are central questions to answer through our research.

The research design consists in 48 focus group discussions with students, teachers and parents in six European countries (Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Poland). Furthermore, in the same countries, we conducted 60 in‐depth interviews with opinion leaders in the field of S&T (scientists at the top of their careers, research institutes directors, consultants, experts in gender issues), involving women and men in equal proportion. The aim is to understand their experience in the science and technology field and their opinion on the gender difference. Fields explored are mathematics, physics, IT, engineering, chemistry. Crossing the different targets, the faculty to become a good researcher is considered equal in men and women, while structural difficulties emerge for women compared with men at the higher levels of their career: S&T professions require a strong commitment, which is still an obstacle in the management of family life.

Despite diminishing prejudice levels in the possibility of success in S&T professions for women in the last decades, only deep changes in society are seen as a possible solution to strike a better balance. Interesting differences emerge among the different countries involved in the project.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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