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Visibility Matters: Increasing Knowledge of Women's Contributions to Ecology

Ellen I. Damschen, Kristen M. Rosenfeld, Mary Wyer, Deena Murphy-Medley, Thomas R. Wentworth and Nick M. Haddad
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Vol. 3, No. 4 (May, 2005), pp. 212-219
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/3868465
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3868465
Page Count: 8
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Visibility Matters: Increasing Knowledge of Women's Contributions to Ecology
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Abstract

Recent scholarship about women and science is a good source of material for addressing the under-representation of women in science. This review is the result of an interdisciplinary fusion of science and women's studies to critically assess teaching tools in undergraduate ecology education. We examine: (1) the representation of women and the coverage of social and cultural context in introductory ecology textbooks, and (2) student learning about women's contributions to ecology. Discipline demographics reveal that women are presented in textbooks less often than expected, and that explicit discussions of the social and cultural context of science are rare. When course content is enriched with material about women's contributions, student's awareness of women scientists improves. Such knowledge can play a critical role in proactively challenging students' perceptions of ecology and ecologists, creating a more positive classroom climate for all students, and introducing novel avenues of questioning and discovery.

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