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Confidence in Science: The Gender Gap

Mary Frank FOX and Glenn FIREBAUGH
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 73, No. 1 (March 1992), pp. 101-113
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42862992
Page Count: 13
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Abstract

The authors find absolutely no trend up or down in confidence in science between 1973 and 1989, but do discover a significant gender gap in confidence. Further, that gap is widening somewhat over time. In accounting for the gap, the authors pursue two types of explanations: the gap (1) as an artifact of sex-related response sets and patterns and (2) as a valid difference, reflecting women's compared to men's statuses, behavior, and political attitudes. The gender gap does not appear to be an artifact. Some plausible social characteristics do not account for the gap, but certain political attitudes do, in larger part. The size and persistence of the gender gap suggest that women constitute a potentially important public that science policy advocates should heed.

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