Gender-inclusive science teaching: A feminist-constructivist approach



The underrepresentation of women in science is an extensively studied yet persistent concern of our society. Researchers have identified numerous educational and social factors thought to be responsible for this underrepresentation (Kahle, 1990a; Kelly, 1987). One of the dominant explanations, used by many researchers for years to discuss gender differences in science and mathematics achievement as well as interest, has been the differences in the cognitive abilities of men and women. This explanation, however, has been discarded in recent years (Linn & Hyde, 1989; Linn 1990). On the basis of their meta-analyses of various studies. Linn and Hyde (1989) concluded that gender differences in cognitive skills have declined and those that remain are largely explained by experiential differences. Women may not have different cognitive abilities, but they may have a different way of learning rooted in their role in society. The epistemic differences between men and women stemming from their standpoint in life can help us understand their differential interaction with the nature of science, and hence their participation in the field. In the following section, we will briefly discuss the feminist critique of science and extend the implication to science education.