Dr. Sandra Harding speaking at UConn, 9/21/2011 at 4 p.m.

Dr. Sandra Harding to speak at Konover Auditorium

A talk by Dr. Sandra Harding

  • Scholar in feminist and postcolonial theory, epistemology, research methodology and philosophy of science.
  • Professor, Social Sciences & Comparative Education University of California – Los Angeles

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
4:00 – 5:30 PM
Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center, UConn – Storrs

Here is a passage from Dr. Harding’s 2009 article Postcolonial and feminist philosophies of science and technology: convergences and dissonances.
Postcolonial Studies, 12:4, 401-421.

Gender and science themes

From its beginnings, gender and science projects in the West pursued five main research trajectories. These were often initiated by groups with different kinds of disciplinary, political, or institutional interests in scientific and technological research. (1) Where are (and have been) women in the social structures of modern Western sciences, and why have there been so few of them in the arenas of the design and management of scientific and technological research? (2) How and why have ‘sexist sciences’ taken on projects of providing empirical support for the claimed inferiority of women? (3) How have technologies and the applications of the results of scientific research been used against women’s equality? Women’s health, reproductive, and environmental concerns were among the earliest such focuses. (4) How do scientific and technological education*pedagogy and curricula*restrict women’s development as scientists and engineers? (5) What is problematic about the epistemologies, methodologies, and philosophies of science that produce and support such sexist and androcentric practices?

These issues all remain important almost four decades later*unfortunately. In some areas significant progress has been made*for example, in increasing access for women to scientific educations, publications, organizations, lab and classroom jobs, and at least token presences in policy contexts. Moreover, significant changes in health and reproductive policies have occurred for women in already advantaged groups. Yet the changes have been mostly for the worse for women in Africa, South Asia, and other places around the globe. Today it is widely recognized that Western and especially US economic and political policies have greatly contributed to the increased threats to environments, health, and life itself experienced by the vast majority of the world’s citizens who are women, and their dependants (as well as adult men), around the globe. An important achievement of feminisms has been their development of epistemological and methodological approaches that deeply transform ‘the logic of scientific inquiry’ and its familiar regulative ideals. These approaches have been widely adopted in the social sciences and some fields of biology and medical research. Nevertheless, such feminist work has been largely marginalized in the mainstream science studies movements in the North. If they are not ‘studying women,’ these researchers seem to think that gender issues are irrelevant to both the worlds they examine and the assumptions guiding their own work.

A book signing and reception will take place in the Dodd Center Lobby immediately following Dr. Harding’s presentation. The Coop Bookstore will have copies of Dr. Harding’s books available for sale at the book signing.

These events are free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Women’s Studies Program; the CLAS Fund for Innovation in Interdisciplinary Race, Eth-nicity, and Gender Studies; the Human Rights Institute; University of Connecticut Research Foundation; the Department of Philosophy; the Department of Sociology; and the Honors Program

For more information, please contact us at 860-486-3970 or wsinfo@uconn.edu.

Link to the full text of this article (for UConn affiliates).

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From PNAS: Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science

Shirl Kennedy has a great new blog — Full Text Reports…. and nothing but! Great new resource. I’ve added it to the list of blogs on the right menu of this page. Reports from great sources, all full text and — I believe — open access for everyone.

Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Explanations for women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields of science often focus on sex discrimination in grant and manuscript reviewing, interviewing, and hiring. Claims that women scientists suffer discrimination in these arenas rest on a set of studies undergirding policies and programs aimed at remediation. More recent and robust empiricism, however, fails to support assertions of discrimination in these domains. To better understand women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields and its causes, we reprise claims of discrimination and their evidentiary bases. Based on a review of the past 20 y of data, we suggest that some of these claims are no longer valid and, if uncritically accepted as current causes of women’s lack of progress, can delay or prevent understanding of contemporary determinants of women’s underrepresentation. We conclude that differential gendered outcomes in the real world result from differences in resources attributable to choices, whether free or constrained, and that such choices could be influenced and better informed through education if resources were so directed. Thus, the ongoing focus on sex discrimination in reviewing, interviewing, and hiring represents costly, misplaced effort: Society is engaged in the present in solving problems of the past, rather than in addressing meaningful limitations deterring women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers today. Addressing today’s causes of underrepresentation requires focusing on education and policy changes that will make institutions responsive to differing biological realities of the sexes. Finally, we suggest potential avenues of intervention to increase gender fairness that accord with current, as opposed to historical, findings.

Full Paper (PDF)

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