Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present

By Sue V. Rosser | Go to book overview

Gender and
Occupational Interests

SUE V. ROSSER

Strong associations exist between particular occupations and the gender of individuals associated with that occupation. For example, in the United States, the occupations of elementary school teacher or nurse evoke images and associations with women in the minds of most individuals. Engineer and mechanic link closely with men.

The association of occupations with a particular gender occurs across cultures, but the sex/gender associated with a specific occupation varies among cultures and countries. For example, in the 1970s in the United States, most people paired doctor or physician with men, while in the former Soviet Union at that time, physicians were assumed to be women. The statistical reality formed the basis for this difference in the two countries. In the United States at that time, 93 percent of physicians were men whereas in the Soviet Union over 90 percent of physicians were women. Although the connection of a particular sex with a specific occupation varies among cultures, one factor remains constant: in most societies, occupations dominated by men hold more prestige and command higher salaries than occupations dominated by women.

In the United States, women currently earn more of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees than men. In 2004, women earned 57.6 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in all fields (NSF 2007) and 59.1 percent of all master’s degrees. Beginning in 2000, women also earned more of the bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering (S&E) (50.4% in 2004), although they earn only 43.6 percent of the master’s degrees in science and engineering. In 2004, women earned 60 percent of the Ph.D.s in nonscience and engineering fields, but only 44 percent of the Ph.D.s in science and engineering received by U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

The major gender differences occur in distribution of the genders across the disciplines. Overall, at the bachelor’s level, women earn the majority (61.1%) of the degrees in the nonscience and engineering fields such as humanities, education, and fine arts, and in the science and engineering fields of psychology (77.8%), the social sciences (54.2%), agricultural sciences (52.2%), and

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Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chronological Section- Changes in Myths of Gender over Time 1
  • Antiquity 3
  • Medieval Era 17
  • Renaissance 31
  • The 18th Century 43
  • The 19th Century 61
  • Early 20th Century 79
  • Thematic Section- Concepts of Gender in Different Contexts 93
  • Disciplines - Chemistry 95
  • Physics/Astronomy 103
  • Mathematics 109
  • Computer Science 115
  • Biology 123
  • Psychology 129
  • Medicine 135
  • Technology 141
  • Aspects of Human Biology and Behavior - The Brain 149
  • Cognitive Abilities 155
  • Mental Illness 161
  • Personality/Rationality/Emotionality 167
  • Endocrinology and Hormones 173
  • Menstruation/Menopause/PMS 177
  • Early Modern Health 181
  • Gender/Sex—How Conjoined 187
  • Homosexuality 193
  • Race 201
  • Nature/Nurture 207
  • Institutions - Women’s Education 213
  • Motherhood 223
  • Religion 229
  • Universities 235
  • Federal Agencies 249
  • Industry 259
  • Professional Societies 263
  • Discrimination 273
  • Women Scientists as Leaders 283
  • Nobel Laureates 295
  • Gender and Occupational Interests 319
  • Other Perspectives on Gender and Myths and Beliefs in Scientific Research - Feminist Philosophy of Science 325
  • Biologists Who Study Gender/Feminism 337
  • Historians of Science and Technology Who Focus on Feminism 347
  • Primatologists Who Focus on Females/Gender 357
  • Critiques of Science 365
  • Marxism/Socialism and Feminism/Gender 373
  • Ecofeminism 381
  • Cyberfeminism 387
  • Race, Postcolonial Gender, and Science 393
  • Feminist Science Studies 399
  • Women’s Health Movement 405
  • Science Fiction 419
  • Conclusion 427
  • Appendix of- Statistical Tables 437
  • Glossary 445
  • Bibliography 469
  • Index 481
  • About the Editor 501
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