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Role of Women in Math, Science and Engineering - Essay Example

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Role of Women in Math, Science and Engineering

However, in spite of these challenges, few women have made an impression in these disciplines, discrediting the myth about the gender’s weakness in the subjects. This paper discusses the role of women in the academic disciplines, related to math, science and engineering. In particular, the paper focuses on the contribution of women in United States in the 19th century and compares the conditions that existed then with the current years. In the recent times, the number of prominent women scientists, mathematicians and engineers pales in comparison to liberal artists, authors, dramatists and dancers in the American society (Clough, 2004). In the 19th century, Berger(1987, p73) noted that the number of women in math, science and engineering disciplines was far much less in a society that was making transition from the agrarian to an industrial driven economy. According to Berger(1987, p89), the role of women in the now developed United States was restricted to home chores, a factor that greatly undermined their early involvement not only in pursuit of their studies, but also in the choice of their careers. In the highly multicultural American society, the academic progress of women especially from the minority groups was an enormous challenge. However, regardless of the racial and economic background of women, their involvement in science, math and engineering was very low. The 19 century was characterized by many groundbreaking and scientific innovations from which most of the current technologies are founded and a number of women played an active role in the United States. Their role was not only limited to studying sciences, math and engineering disciplines to higher levels but were also involved in innovation of new technologies from those disciplines. At the time, United States was undergoing economic and social changes that demanded invention to solve the problems afflicting the society including diseases, more efficient machines to cope with the mass production demands in addition to enhancing the agricultural production in order to meet the food demands of the increasing population Berger, (Berger, 1987, p 102) Some of the most prominent American women scientists in the 19th century included physicians such Elizabeth Blackwell, Annie Elizabeth, a dentist, Maria Mitchell, an American astronomer, Richard Ellen Swallow, a renowned chemist and ecologist in addition to Amelia Earhart, a popular aviatrix. Other women included Rebecca Cole, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in Physics, Marie Curie a renowned chemists and among the pioneers of radioactivity. In medical and nursing profession, some of the most prominent women included the Beatrice Hinkle, a psychiatrist, Helena Deustch, a psychoanalyst, and Lillian Carter, who was a prominent nurse. Though these women made remarkable contribution in their scientific and engineering disciplines, Clough (2004) notes that their numbers was very small compared to American men in the respective areas. Although their marginal involvement in math, engineering and science has been attributed to the then a hugely male dominated society, the current role of women in these disciplines is still very low compared to men. This is in spite of the highly liberalized and more equitable society that provides equal opportunities to both sexes. According to Clough (2004), women are under ...Show more


It is a proven fact that participation of women in scientific, mathematical and engineering disciplines remains disproportionately low compared to their male counterparts in both professional and academic endeavors. This disparity has existed for a long time and it has been a subject of political and academic debate in both developed and developing economies…
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Role of Women in Math, Science and Engineering essay example
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