STEM = masculine + feminine

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  10 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6329, pp. 1036-1037
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6329.1036-c

Gender inequalities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are well documented, but the underlying causes leading to these inequalities are less studied. To test the association between masculinity or femininity and choosing a STEM major, Simon et al. surveyed students at a major public university, using questions regarding academic climate and occupational values coupled with the Bem sex-role inventory, a widely used measure of gendered personality types. Resulting data suggest that the conventional model that men like science because it is “masculine,” whereas women do not like science because it is “antifeminine,” is flawed. Instead, results show that women pay a femininity penalty in STEM majors, whereas more abundant feminine personality traits in men render them more likely to major in a STEM field.

J. Res. Sci. Teach. 10.1002/tea.21345 (2017).

Navigate This Article