It’s an obvious enough observation that the world isn’t perfect. There are indeed many things about it that we’d like to change. But we also have another associated problem – when have we done enough to change it? So that we can declare the problem solved and thus move our scarce resources on to trying to correct some other cock up of the universe? If we’re honest about it that’s something that society currently gets wrong.
Take, for example, renewable power generation. All are agreed – all on the green and pro-renewables side at least – that such are going to be cheaper than fossil fuels real soon now. Excellent, the correct response to this is that we can now stop subsidising renewables. Whatever it was that we needed to do to solve climate change is now done. We’ll not be burning dead dinosaurs to power civilisation and it was the burning of the dead dinosaurs producing the climate change problem. Great, problem solved, now, what next?
Except that’s not what happens, is it? As with this interesting little finding about what little girls think about scientists:
A new study suggests that changing media depictions have affected common gendered stereotypes — particularly when it comes to the stereotypical image of a scientist, a historically male-dominated field.
Using literature databases, researchers at Northwestern University examined 78 studies they identified over the last 50 years that included “Draw a Scientist” tests in America. The idea was to observe if children thought of a man or a woman when asked to draw a scientist.
The researchers relied on collected findings from more than 20,000 American children in kindergarten through 12th grade. The first study included an analysis of data collected from 1966 to 1977; the remaining studies included data from 1985 to 2016. According to the analysis, researchers concluded that more children drew women scientists with more frequency in later decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, less than one percent of the drawings showed a female scientists. That percentage had increased to 28 in the 1980s.
So, we have had a rise in the number of children who think that women can be scientists. Admittedly, not something I worry about greatly – as long as those who wish to be scientists have the opportunity to so be then I’m pretty sure we’re done even as I note that most of the rest of society doesn’t agree with me. Is this enough though?
Women continue to hold fewer positions than men in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. According to a UNESCO report, only 28.8 percent of the world’s researchers are female.
Children’s views of the world now seem to match that world near exactly. Seems to me like we’re done. After all, the point of education is to teach people what is, to free them from the disappointments and shackles of belief systems based upon what they’d like it all to be. That is what school and education is for isn’t it? To teach that the world isn’t unicorns pooping rainbows but vastly more fun and complex than that?
Excellent, we’re done therefore. On this one particular subject that is, childrens’ views of gender in science accord with reality. What’s the next problem for us to go off and solve then?