The Professional Journeys of African American Women Scientists
CHAPTER 6: Framework for Studying Race and Gender Issues in Science 68
CHAPTER 6 Framework for Studying Race and Gender Issues in Science Before presenting our framework for studying race and gender in science, we will begin with a review of the various theories of gender difference and/or inequality in science in particular, and society in general, that have been pre- sented in the past. We will review some of these theories, with particular em- phasis on their contributions to our understanding of gender issues in science, their assumptions, and limitations. A framework for studying African Ameri- can women scientists will be proposed, and our rationale for selecting such a framework will be provided. In Chapters 8 and 9, we will demonstrate the application of our framework in the discussion of our findings. Some scholars, such as Gray (1981), have suggested that gender differ- ences exist in science because of biological factors. According to Gray, since gender differences in science achievement are present in all countries studied, and since little variation exists in the results of these studies, biological rather than environmental factors may be responsible for gender differences in sci- ence. The author argues that, although a gene for gender differences in sci- ence has not been discovered, studies conducted on rats and primates also showed that males consistently outperform females in solving complex spatial tasks (Buffery and Gray, 1972; Van Lawick-Goodall, 1968). This spatial abil- ity, Gray noted, has been shown to predict success in quantitative thinking and performance on practical tasks, all of which are critical for success in...
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