Images of mathematicians: a new perspective on the shortage of women in mathematical careers
 Katrina PiatekJimenez
 … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discount
Rent now* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Get AccessAbstract
Though women earn nearly half of the mathematics baccalaureate degrees in the United States, they make up a much smaller percentage of those pursuing advanced degrees in mathematics and those entering mathematicsrelated careers. Through semistructured interviews, this study took a qualitative look at the beliefs held by five undergraduate women mathematics students about themselves and about mathematicians. The findings of this study suggest that these women held stereotypical beliefs about mathematicians, describing them to be exceptionally intelligent, obsessed with mathematics, and socially inept. Furthermore, each of these women held the firm belief that they do not exhibit at least one of these traits, the first one being unattainable and the latter two being undesirable. The results of this study suggest that although many women are earning undergraduate degrees in mathematics, their beliefs about mathematicians may be preventing them from identifying as one and choosing to pursue mathematical careers.
Inside
Within this Article
 Introduction
 Review of relevant literature
 Research questions
 Methods
 Results
 Discussion
 References
 References
Other actions
 Adhikari, A., Nolan, D., Chunawala, L., Heising, A., & Woon, I. (1997). A view of mathematics from an undergraduate perspective. In D. Nolan (Ed.), Women in mathematics: Scaling the heights (pp. 17–23). Washington, D.C: Mathematical Association of America.
 Bartholomew, C., & Schnorr, D. (1994). Gender equity: Suggestions for broadening career options of female students. The School Counselor, 41(4), 245–255.
 Becker, J. (1990). Graduate education in the mathematical sciences: Factors influencing women and men. In L. Burton (Ed.), Gender and mathematics: An international perspective (pp. 119–130). London: Cassell.
 Becker, J. (1995). Women’s ways of knowing in mathematics. In P. Rogers & G. Kaiser (Eds.), Equity in Mathematics Education: Influences of Feminism and Culture (pp. 163–174). London: The Falmer Press.
 Becker, J. (2003). Gender and mathematics: An issue for the twentyfirst century. Teaching Children Mathematics, 9(8), 470–473.
 Boaler, J. (2002). Paying the price for “sugar and spice”: Shifting the analytical lens in equity research. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 4(2 & 3), 127–144
 BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics). (2005). Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population 25 to 64 years of age by educational attainment and sex, 2004 annual averages. Available online at: http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlftable82005.pdf. Accessed January 2008.
 Carlone, H., & Johnson, A. (2007). Understanding the science experiences of successful women of color: Science identity as an analytic lens. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(8), 1187–1218. CrossRef
 Clarkson, P. (1993). Gender, ethnicity, and textbooks. The Australian Mathematics Teacher, 49, 14–16.
 Damarin, S. (2000). The mathematically able as a marked category. Gender and Education, 12(1), 69–85. CrossRef
 Damarin, S. (1995). Gender and mathematics from a feminist standpoint. In W. G. Secada, E. Fennema & L. B. Adajian (Eds.), New Directions for Equity in Mathematics Education (pp. 242–257). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
 Davenport, L. (1997). Promoting interest in mathematical careers among girls and women. Wisconsin Teacher of Mathematics, 48(2), 10–15.
 Davis, Z. (1997). Gender and mathematical ability: a semiotic reading of a South African primary school textbook. Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal, 10, 64–76.
 DeHaven, M., & Wiest, L. (2003). Impact of a girls mathematics and technology program on middle school girls’ attitudes toward mathematics. The Mathematics Educator, 13(2), 32–37.
 Elgar, A. (2004). Science textbooks for lower secondary schools in Brunei: issues of gender equity. International Journal of Science Education, 26(7), 875–894. CrossRef
 Field, A., Cheung, L., Wolf, A., Herzog, D., Gortmaker, S., & Colditz, G. (1999). Exposure to the mass media and weight concerns among girls. Pediatrics, 103(3), e36. CrossRef
 Finson, K., Beaver, J., & Cramond, B. (1995). Development and field test of a checklist for the drawascientist test. School Science and Mathematics, 95(4), 195–205.
 Forgasz, H., Leder, G., & Gardner, P. (1999). The FennemaSherman mathematics as a male domain scale reexamined. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 30(3), 342–348. CrossRef
 Forgasz, H., Leder, G., & Kaur, B. (1999). Who can(‘t) do maths—boys/girls? An international comparison. Paper presented at the combined Annual Meeting of the Australian Association for Research in Education and the New Zealand Association for Research in Education, Melbourne, Australia, November 29–December 2, 1999. ED453069.
 Forgasz, H., Leder, G., & Kloosterman, P. (2004). New perspectives on the gender stereotyping of mathematics. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 6(4), 389–420. CrossRef
 Forgasz, H. & Mittelberg, D. (2008). Gendered beliefs about mathematics among Australian and Israeli grade 9 students. In: Proceedings of the AARE 2007 international educational research conference, http://www.aare.edu.au/07pap/for07212.pdf
 Fox, L., & Soller, J. (2001). Psychosocial dimensions of gender differences in mathematics. In J. E. Jacobs, J. R. Becker & G. F. Gilmer (Eds.), Changing the Faces of Mathematics (pp. 9–24). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
 Gee, J. (2000–2001). Identity as an analytic lens for research in education. Review of Research in Education, 25:99–125
 Gordon, C., & Keyfitz, B. (2004). Women in academia: Are we asking the right questions? Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 51(7), 784–786.
 Guest, A., & Schneider, B. (2008). Adolescents’ extracurricular participation in context. In J. Ballantine & J. Spade (Eds.), Schools and Society: A Sociological Approach to Education (pp. 45–61). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
 Gupta, M. (2005). Summer program for women undergraduates. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 52(3), 355.
 Hale, M. (2003). Essentials of Mathematics: Introduction to Theory, Proof, and the Professional Culture. Washington, DC: The Mathematical Association of America.
 Hargreaves, M., Homer, M., & Swinnerton, B. (2008). A comparison of performance and attitudes in mathematics amongst the ‘gifted’. Are boys better at mathematics or do they just think they are? Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 15(1), 19–38. CrossRef
 Herzig, A. (2004). ‘Slaughtering this beautiful math’: Graduate women choosing and leaving mathematics. Gender and Education, 16(3), 379–395. CrossRef
 Huber, R., & Burton, G. (1995). What do students think scientists look like? School Science and Mathematics, 95(7), 371–376. CrossRef
 Hughes, W. J. (2000). Perceived gender interaction and course confidence among undergraduate science, mathematics, and technology majors. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 6, 155–167.
 Johnston, D., & Swanson, D. (2007). Cognitive acrobatics in the construction of workermother identity. Sex Roles, 57, 447–459. CrossRef
 Jones, L., & Smart, T. (1995). Confidence and mathematics: A gender issue? Gender and Education, 7(2), 157–166. CrossRef
 Kerpelman, J., & Schvaneveldt, P. (1999). Young adults’ anticipated identity importance of career, marital, and parental roles: Comparisons of men and women with different role balance orientations. Sex Roles, 41(3/4), 189–217. CrossRef
 Leder, G. & Forgasz, H. (2002). Two new instruments to probe attitude about gender and mathematics. ERIC, Resources in Education (RIE), ED463312.
 NCES (National Center for Education Statistics). (2001–2005). Digest of education statistics, 2000–2004. Available online at: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/. Accessed August 2006.
 NSF (National Science Foundation). (2004). Employed bachelor’s or higher degree recipients, by occupation, sex, race/ethnicity, country of birth, and disability status: 2000. Available online at: www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/wmpd/employ.htm. Accessed May 2005.
 NSF (National Science Foundation). (2006). Characteristics of Recent Science and Engineering Graduates: 2003, Available online at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf06329/. Accessed February 2008.
 Picker, S., & Berry, J. (2000). Investigating pupils’ images of mathematicians. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 43(1), 65–94. CrossRef
 Picker, S., & Berry, J. (2001). Your students’ images of mathematicians and mathematics. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 7(4), 202–208.
 Pronin, E., Steele, C., & Ross, L. (2004). Identity bifurcation in response to stereotype threat: Women and mathematics. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 152–168. CrossRef
 Quinn, D., & Spencer, S. (2001). The interference of stereotype threat with women’s generation of mathematical problemsolving strategies. Journal of Social Issues, 57(1), 55–71. CrossRef
 Raty, H., Vanska, J., Kasanen, K., & Karkkainen, R. (2002). Parents’ explanations of their child’s performance in mathematics and reading: A replication and extension of Yee and Eccles. Sex Roles, 46(3/4), 121–128. CrossRef
 Riehl, C. (2008). Bridges to the future: Contributions of qualitative research to the sociology of education. In J. Ballantine & J. Spade (Eds.), Schools and society: A sociological approach to education (pp. 45–61). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
 Rossman, G., & Rallis, S. (1998). Learning in the field: An introduction to qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
 Sadker, M., & Sadker, D. (1994). Failing at fairness: How our schools cheat girls. New York, NY: Touchstone.
 Seegers, G., & Boekaerts, M. (1996). Genderrelated differences in selfreferenced cognitions in relation to mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 27(2), 215–240. CrossRef
 Sharpe, N., & Sonnert, G. (1999). Proportions of women faculty and students in the mathematical sciences: A trend analysis by institutional group. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 5(1), 17–27.
 Spelke, E. (2005). Sex differences in intrinsic aptitude for mathematics and science? American Psychologist, 60(9), 950–958. CrossRef
 Spencer, S., Steele, C., & Quinn, D. (1999). Stereotype threat and women’s math performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 4–28. CrossRef
 Stokes, H., & Wyn, J. (2007). Constructing identities and making careers: young people’s perspectives on work and learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 26(5), 495–511. CrossRef
 Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
 The Chronicle of Higher Education. (2006). The nation: Earned degrees conferred 2001–2, 21(1), 22.
 Tiedemann, J. (2002). Teachers’ gender stereotypes as determinants of teacher perceptions in elementary school mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 50(1), 49–62. CrossRef
 Walkerdine, V. (1998). Counting girls out: Girls and mathematics. Bristol, PA: Falmer, Taylor and Francis, Inc.
 Wallon, G. (2005). Aptitude or attitude? European Molecular Biology Organization reports, 6(5), 400–402.
 Wiest, L. (2004). The critical role of an informal mathematics program for girls. Copenhagen, Denmark: Paper presented at: The 10th International Congress on Mathematical Education.
 Wyer, M. (2003). Intending to stay: Images of scientists, attitudes toward women, and gender as influences on persistence among science and engineering majors. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 9(1), 1–16. CrossRef
 Zelden, A., & Pajares, F. (2000). Against the odds: selfefficacy beliefs of women in mathematical, scientific, and technological careers. American Educational Research Journal, 37(1), 215–246.
 Title
 Images of mathematicians: a new perspective on the shortage of women in mathematical careers
 Journal

ZDM
Volume 40, Issue 4 , pp 633646
 Cover Date
 20081101
 DOI
 10.1007/s1185800801268
 Print ISSN
 18639690
 Online ISSN
 18639704
 Publisher
 SpringerVerlag
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 Gender
 Identity
 Images of mathematicians
 Authors

 Katrina PiatekJimenez ^{(1)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI, USA