Breaking the vicious cycle of gender stereotypes and science

Articolo di Flavia Zucco e Francesca Molfino sugli stereotipi di genere pubblicato sulla rivista della Fondazione Brodolini.

Introduction
Over the last thirty years many scholars have claimed that any form of knowledge and culture has been accomplished by a western male gender subject and this idea inherently conveys self-reinforcing codes strictly related to how the male subject has defined himself in organisations and related institutions. Hence, if a female gender subject wishes to share, for example, scientific knowledge, it is necessary to determine what excludes her in the institutions, identifying the areas of science that are common to both. For example, the laboratory and everything directly connected to experimentation, theory and most technologies belong to human beings, whereas the selection of research fields, application of technologies, funding, access to scientific knowledge, academic institutions and the same scientific organisations come under the umbrella of a “scientific culture” that is connected to other forms of culture and contains the same forms of gender discrimination.
The issue of stereotypes in gender discrimination is a very crucial one, because their roots are deeply embedded in the history, culture, education and psychology of individuals in western countries. In scientific research, stereotypes are also present because social roles and values are not influenced by the features at the roots of this activity: objectivity and scientific rationality. In fact, data have shown that gender horizontal discrimination in disciplines, vertical discrimination in career progress and exclusion from decisional boards are widely present in science and technology areas.

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