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Navigating the Gendered Math Path: Understanding Women's Experiences in University Mathematics Classes

Christina D. Weber and Angie Hodge
International Review of Qualitative Research
Vol. 5, No. 2 (Summer 2012), pp. 153-174
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/irqr.2012.5.2.153
Page Count: 22
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Navigating the Gendered Math Path
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Abstract

Abstract Using dialogues with our informants, as well as with each other, we explore how the men and women in our research make it through their mathematics coursework and, in turn, pursue their intended majors. Our research focuses on how students navigate what we call the gendered math path and how that path conforms to and diverges from traditional gender norms. Common themes of women's lower than men's self-perception of their ability to do mathematics, along with the divergent processes of doing gender that emerged in men's and women's discussions of their application of mathematics, reminded us of the continued struggles that women have to succeed in male-dominated academic disciplines. Although self-perception helps us understand why there are fewer women in STEM fields, it is important to understand how different forms of application of ideas might add to the diversity of what it means to do good science.

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