Everything You Ever Wanted to know about Gender Issues in Science/Math Education

by Stephanie Chasteen on August 16, 2008

Richard Hake and Jeffry Mallow have compiled over 700 research papers on how males and females learn — and are taught — science and mathematics.  Wow!

You can download the PDF of their work here. If that link stops working at some point, the permalink is in Reference 55 here.

The first page reads:

This 12.8 MB compilation of over 700 annotated references and 1000 hot-linked URL’s provides a window into the vast literature on Gender Issues in Science/Math Education (GISME). The present listing is an update, expansion, and generalization of the earlier 0.23 MB Gender Issues in Physics/Science Education (GIPSE) by Mallow & Hake (2002). Included in references on general gender issues in science and math, are sub-topics that include:
(a) Affirmative Action;
(b) Constructivism: Educational and Social;
(c) Drivers of Education Reform and Gender Equity: Economic Competitiveness and Preservation of Life on Planet Earth;
(d) Education and the Brain;
(e) Gender & Spatial Visualization;
(f) Harvard President Summers’ Speculation on Innate Gender Differences in Science and Math Ability;
(g) Hollywood Actress Danica McKellar’s book Math Doesn’t Suck;
(h) Interactive Engagement;
(i) International Comparisons;
(j) Introductory Physics Curriculum S (for Synthesis);
(k) Is There a Female Science? – Pro & Con;
(l) Schools Shortchange Girls (or is it Boys)?;
(m) Sex Differences in Mathematical Ability: Fact or Artifact?;
(n) Status of Women Faculty at MIT.

In this Part 1 (8.2 MB), all references are in listed in alphabetical order on pages 3-178. In Part 2
(4.6 MB) references related to sub-topics “a” through “n” are listed in subject order as indicated above.

On a related note, here is a post from Swans on Tea about the recent discussion on instituting Title IX in Science.

The issue here, though, is whether the comparison to sports is an appropriate one to make. It’s not.

Men and women don’t compete with and against each other in these sporting events. Title IX has been very successful at expanding womens’ participation in sports, because it focused on equality of opportunity and did not assume equality of ability — women are not fighting for a roster spot on a single football, soccer or baseball team, etc. …The lack of opportunity for women that prompted Title IX was the lack of teams on which they could compete, and one could (and did) create and fund these teams. The situation in science is very much different in the difficulties that exist and the solutions that can be proffered.


CBK August 24, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Title IX was instituted for science in 1972, if “science” means “science in federally funded institutions.” The text of Title IX is here:


and says (in part), “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (e.g., grants from the National Science Foundation) and continues with a list of exceptions.

Current discussion focuses on enforcing Title IX for science.

A 2004 GAO report found that the US Department of Education had not conducted a Title IX compliance review for almost ten years and that the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and NASA have never conducted a Title IX compliance review of their grantees—although periodic reviews are required by Title IX regulations.

sciencegeekgirl August 25, 2008 at 8:16 am

Thanks for the clarification, CBK. Here is the original NY Times article (which does indeed state that the debate is about enforcing Title IX — they are investigating whether institutions of higher learning are guilty of gender discrimination).


Much of the debate is about whether there actually is gender discrimination, once the gender gap in interest is accounted for. For example: “Once the researchers controlled for that personality variable, the gender gap shrank to statistical insignificance: women who preferred tinkering with inanimate objects were about as likely to go into computer careers as were men with similar personalities. There just happened to be fewer women than men with those preferences.”

Here is some FAQ’s on Title IX:


terry October 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

hi, thanks for the info. but i still need a more comprehensive abstract or write up on gender issues in science with refrences.your help will be greatly appreciated.

sciencegeekgirl October 7, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Check out my post here — http://sciencegeekgirl.com/2008/10/05/advice-for-girls-in-science-the-meritocracy/

Scroll to the bottom to see the Nat’l Academies report on gender and science. That’s the most comprehensive to date. You can read it for free online.

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