Advocating for equitable science-learning opportunities for girls in an urban city youth club and the roadblocks faced by women science educators*

Authors

  • Kathleen S. Davis

    Corresponding author
    1. TECS Department, School of Education, 227A Furcolo Hall, University of Massachusetts—Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003
    • TECS Department, School of Education, 227A Furcolo Hall, University of Massachusetts—Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003.
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  • *

    The author thanks Tarin Weiss for her comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Abstract

This article reports on a study that examined the obstacles women science educators faced as they facilitated Explorers, an after-school science program for girls aged 6–12. The program aimed to provide girls with opportunities to legitimately participate in science activity. Explorers was one of several programs offered by the Foothills City Youth Club (FCYC) in a racially diverse urban center in the Southwestern United States. The youth club was meant to serve the needs of children and youth in that community. Through analysis of field notes, interviews, and documents, the social structures and forces that impeded the implementation of practices and the acquisition of capital are described. They include: (a) inadequate funding and community support, (b) conflicting beliefs between FCYC leaders and community leaders about the needs of boys and girls, and 3) inequitable decision-making structures of the community. Underlying beliefs, structures, and practices within the community weakened the FCYC in many ways, interrupted the leadership's attempts to meet their goals as they worked with the community's children, and brought to the surface issues of bias and oppression. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 39: 151-163, 2002

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