Factors for Female Students Lower Attraction in Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Subjects

Posted: 4 Dec 2019

See all articles by HPKN Hewawasam

HPKN Hewawasam

Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura

MKGI Dharmasena

Department of Sinhala and Mass Communication, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Date Written: December 3, 2019

Abstract

Gender equality is a concept which addresses problems of gender-based discrimination. In society, gender affects the way how people are treated in many instances. Unequal treatment based on gender is called gender inequality. It may occur in many social institutions. Education is the most important social institution which could help minimise this gap. Unfortunately, in some Asian countries, gender inequalities still persist within the education systems. Especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) subjects, Female students are not given equal opportunities to access. Giving them equal access will enable them to benefit from STEM subjects. Therefore, identifying and addressing factors related to female students’ lower attraction to STEM subjects can be identified as a national endeavour. The objective of this study was to identify the barriers which influence the female students to access to STEM subjects in A/ L Stream. Therefore, the research questions of this study was ‘What were the obstacles which female students come across when choosing STEM subjects for their A/Ls?’ The data were gathered from 70 female students (2018/ 2019) who were studying in a school located in Mathugama. The research revealed that out of (70 girl students) 31.3 % of students had been following the Art subjects due to their attitudes. Other than that, surprisingly, socio-economic condition of the family also effected on the female students A/L subject selection and has a link with the STEM subjects. According to the findings of this research Attitudinal, Cognitive and Economic factors have influenced lower attraction for STEM subjects. As a recommendation, conducting awareness programs for them would be an effective method. Other than the workshops and seminars, essay writing competitions and debate competitions would be suitable to change their mindsets. Higher education policymakers should be aware of all the above issues and should formulate and implement national policy to increase the number of female students who follows STEM students.

Keywords: STEM, female students, secondary education, gender equality, attitudes

Suggested Citation

Hewawasam, HPKN and Dharmasena, MKGI, Factors for Female Students Lower Attraction in Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Subjects (December 3, 2019). Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Multidisciplinary Approaches (iCMA) 2019 | Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3497327

HPKN Hewawasam (Contact Author)

Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura ( email )

Sri Lanka

MKGI Dharmasena

Department of Sinhala and Mass Communication, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura ( email )

Sri Lanka

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