Re: dissertation help (fwd)

Donna Woodka (
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 14:54:05 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 10 Oct 1996, Monique Mironesco wrote:

> Hi. My name is Monique Mironesco. I am a new Ph.D. candidate in the
> Political Science Department at the University of Hawai'i. I am writing
> my dissertation on gender bias in secondary education. However, I am
> having a hard time pinning down a core question that will describe my
> research problem and also be something that I want to spend the next three
> years of my life researching and answering. So far I am looking at
> adolescent girls' self-esteem as a major factor in gender inequity in
> education. However, I am not sure that this is what I want to focus on.
> If anyone has any suggestions, I would definitely appreciate a reply.
> Thank you very much.

I've been working on a book about using the Internet to help girls get and
stay involved in math and science. In secondary education, I see the
problem as peer influence - girls get the idea that it's not "cool" to be
smart and interested in science and math. They are also sometimes
discouraged by counselors and parents from taking more advanced math
classes, in the mistaken idea that their grades might suffer and lessen
their chances for college entry. The reverse actually happens, in that
they are farther behind once they hit college level courses. Girls and
boys math and science scores are relatively equivalent right up to the
point where girls are discouraged from this advanced "pipeline". The issue
I would look at is how to keep girls interested and involved, to put it in
a positive perspective, and there are lots of good sources out there on
ways to do this - from math and science camps and programs for girls, to
encouraging teachers, parents and counselors to be aware of the peer
influences and encourage positive peer relationships with girls and boys
who share their interest in math and science.

In other words, it's not about self esteem so much as maintaining a
positive perspective about pursuing the math and science interests.

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