Women experience bias that negatively influences their progress, participation and benefit in science and technology in Zambia. Although instances of explicit bias may be decreasing, implicit bias continues to have an adverse effect.
Therefore, this assignment aims at giving practical examples and illustrations by critically analyzing the notion that male unlike their female counterpart have greatly benefited from science and technology in Zambia and further gives suggestions of what should be done in order to ensure that science and technology benefits both man and women. Multiple factors have contributed to the underrepresentation and less benefit of women and girls in science and technology. To start with, negative stereotypes about girls’ and women’s abilities in science and technology has contributed to girls’ and women’s considerable benefits in participation and performance in these areas during the last few decades. Two stereotypes are prevalent in society: girls are not as good as boys in technology, and scientific work is better suited to boys and men. As early as early childhood school, children are aware of these stereotypes and can express stereotypical beliefs about which science courses are suitable for females and males (Farenga & Joyce, 1999). Furthermore, girls and young women have been found to be aware of, and negatively affected by, the stereotypical image of a scientist as a man (Buck et al.
, 2008). Although largely unspoken, negative stereotypes about women and girls in science and technology has led to women shunning science and technology. Hence, making woman to less benefit from these two disciplines. For example, these negative stereotypes affect women’s and girls’ performance and aspirations in science and technology through a phenomenon called “stereotype threat.” Even female students who strongly identify with science and technology, who think that they are good at science and technology and being good in science and technology is important to them are susceptible to its effects (Nguyen & Ryan, 2008). Secondly, women have less benefited from science and technology in the sense that there has been exclusion of women as research and innovation representing more than a loss of talent and skilled labor. It also represents the exclusion of the specific types of knowledge women develop and maintain as a consequence of gender roles.
For example, women are responsible for food production and medical care in much of the developing countries of which Zambia is not an exception, and consequently possess unique intellectual resources (such as knowledge about the medicinal properties of plants) as well as material resources (such as seeds for specific strains of crops.Other than that, Women in rural parts of Zambia spend large amounts of time performing labor-intensive tasks, such as carrying water long distances. Water sources close to home, mechanized grain mills, and energy efficient stoves remain out of the reach of many women.
When women gain access to time- and labor-saving technologies, productivity increases and girls are more likely to receive the education required for participation in a knowledge-based economy. There is need for Women’s participation in Science and Technology, support of girl children’s education and women’s careers. While critically important, this approach has also been criticized for ‘fixing the women’ attempting to give women more education, more research money, and more training to better assimilate them to traditionally male domains. The implicit assumption is that Science and Technology institutions and research are gender neutral. Consequently, this approach fails to look beyond women’s careers to reform Science and Technology institutions and research methods. Achieving equality requires examining gender divisions of labor in society at large and in science specifically, as well as considering how research is conceptualized and carried out.
Women have not been Acquiring science and technology skills to open up a broad range of employment opportunities, both as highly-skilled professionals and as technicians. This has led to Girls and women, remain underrepresented both in the fields of study that lead to such jobs, and in Science and Technology employment. Additionally, Girls have not benefited from science and technology due to the fact that, they do not pursue science and technical studies at the same rate as boys, though there is variation in ambition and interest. Fewer girls than boys say they are interested in science or technology careers (American Society for Quality, 2009).
The work of Shelley Correll, a sociologist at Stanford University, sheds light on how girls’ and women’s seemingly voluntary decisions to avoid science and technology careers are influenced by the cultural belief that science and science and technology are male domains. Correll’s research focuses on self-assessment and its consequences for interest in science and technology and science.She found that among students with equivalent past achievement in science and technology, boys assessed their science and technology ability higher than girls did. Controlling for actual ability, the higher students assessed their science and technology ability, the greater the odds were that they would enroll in a high school calculus course and choose a college major in science, science and technology, or technology. Correll (2001) found that, boys were more likely than their equally accomplished female peers to enroll in calculus not because boys were better at science and technology but because they believed that they were better at science and technology. When science and technology self-assessment levels were controlled, the previous higher enrollment of boys in calculus disappeared and the gender gap in college major choice was reduced.In both urban and rural areas in Zambia, parents’ attitudes toward boys’ and girls’ abilities may be an important factor in helping to explain girls’ lower rates of science and technology participation. Although there are few differences between girls and boys on standardized measures of science and technology and science achievement.
National tests show some variation by province, grade level, subject area, and specific skill, but, overall, long-assumed gaps in science and technology ability favoring boys are narrow, if not negligible. Science and technology pedagogy and curricula has been used in the ongoing gender disparities in Science and Technology interest and self-concept. Teaching strategies and materials have been consistently biased towards certain types of skills, roles, experiences, and applications that are closely linked to gender, the net result being that science and technology is more accessible to boys than to girls. For example in industrial arts and technology studies. It has been noted that Women in Science and technology fields have experienced biasness that negatively influences their progress and participation.
Although instances of explicit bias may be decreasing, implicit bias continues to have an adverse effect. Implicit biases may reflect, be stronger than, or in some cases contradict openly held beliefs or values. Therefore, even individuals who espouse a belief of gender equity and equality may harbor implicit biases about gender and, hence, negative gender stereotypes about women and girls in science and science and technology Nosek et al. (2002) found that majorities of both women and men of all Zambian-ethnic groups hold a strong implicit association of male with science and technology and female with liberal arts.
For instance men with science engineering and with liberal arts such as humanities. Consequently, Women have less benefited in science and technology due to the fact that they perform twice as much core housework case in point, cooking and grocery shopping, laundry, and housecleaning and do much of childcare than their male counterparts. Hence reducing the time to engage in science and technology as they get pre-occupied with the mentioned activities.
Women generally comprise a minority of scientists, technologists, and engineers across sectors and countries. Women are also underrepresented in positions of Science and Technology leadership in senior professorships. The achievements of males are more often attributed to natural ability and talent; those of females are more often attributed to methodical, ‘grindstone’ work. Though Zambia has recently seen rapid growth in Internet access, women are vastly underrepresented in technology. For instance, the rise of cybercafés has benefited men more than women because boys and men have more freedom of movement to get to the cafes and have more access to make and spend money at them. Furthermore, there is a disturbing trend of cyberbullying experienced by young women. They also find it difficult to access technology because of cultural restrictions and their lower status in society. As per foregoing discussion, multiple factors contribute to the notion that males unlike their counterpart have greatly benefited from science and technology in Zambia and, therefore, multiple solutions are needed to correct the imbalance.
In order to ensure that science and technology benefit both men and women, the Zambian government should be committed to attain gender equality at all levels of education. As equality in Science and Technology fields has been a particular challenge, and achieving it depends on targeted national policies directed at multiple levels: family contexts, school resources, local communities, and so on. Socioeconomics can play a major role in gender disparities; analysis of Science and Technology outcomes by gender cannot take place apart from an analysis of household wealth and regional economies.
It is apparent that eradicating stereotypes is a worthwhile but long-term goal. In the meantime, the government should promote and communicate a growth mindset in educators, parents, and anyone who has contact with girls can take to reduce the effect of stereotypes and increase girls’ and women’s participation in Science and Technology areas. The more girls and women believe that they can learn and be successful in Science and Technology fields as men (as opposed to being “gifted”), the more likely they are to actually be successful in science technology fields.Apart from that, without access to science and technology, women are at greater risk of being left behind in a rapidly changing global society of science and technology. The Zambian government and other stakeholders must ensure that women, as well as men, at all social levels and in all provinces, have access to science and technology facilities.Girls and women must be supported in becoming scientifically and technologically competitive and they must gain proper understanding of how to use it safely and effectively. With Africa’s growing youth population and increasing competition for jobs and other opportunities, addressing these issues is imperative in any effort to promote women’s employability and financial independence. In conclusion, the issues of gender inequality cannot be over emphasized, as still it remains an emerging issue in all sectors of life.
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