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A STUDY ON GENDER DIFFERENCE IN ATTITUDE TOWARDS SCIENCE

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					       INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976
  International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN MANAGEMENT (IJM) –
  6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

ISSN 0976 – 6340 (Print)
ISSN 0976 – 6359 (Online)
Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013), pp. 112-120
                                                                                IJM
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                                                                        ©IAEME


     A STUDY ON GENDER DIFFERENCE IN ATTITUDE TOWARDS
                          SCIENCE


            Brajraj Singh1, Rakhee Chaudhary1, Rekha Yadav2 and K. Singh1

     1. Faculty of Engineering and TechnologyMody Institute of Technology and Science
       (Deemed University, Exclusively for women), Lakshmangarh, Rajasthan, India
        2. Mody Institute of Education and Research, Lakshmangarh, Rajasthan, India



  ABSTRACT

          Attitude is normally considered to be one of the important causes of variation in
  individual achievement and also a very basis of cognitive development and motivation, as
  well as several other positive links of success. Invariably, it means a student (she or he)
  must have a positive attitude towards the study of a particular subject as this influences
  ones performance and achievement in the subject. However, research studies have
  indicated that some level of gender inequality exists in attitude towards science and if this
  trend is allowed to continue, the dream of having adequate talented women to meet the
  manpower levels needed to support science and technological growth and development
  might severely be affected. Taking this into consideration, an attempt has been made to
  investigate whether gender differences still exist in attitude towards science. An attitude
  towards Science-Questionnaire was administered on approximately 200 students, both
  male and female who have offered science at Secondary School level. From data analysis
  involving use of descriptive statistics (mean, SD, and t-test) it was found that there was
  significant difference between the attitudes of females with respect to males towards
  science. The results of this study show that there is a significant level of attitudinal
  differences towards science subjects between male and female students at secondary
  school level and that might be influencing the enrolment at higher level of studies in
  science streams.

  Keywords: Women and Science, attitude towards study science, gender and HR


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INTRODUCTION

        The studies on gender disparities have been done in both developed and developing
countries. In some of the countries women in institutions of higher learning tend to
concentrate in certain fields of study such as humanities, home economics and arts, though
more women have now enrolled in other fields like business and public administration. The
enrolment in the fields such as mathematics and science related fields is however still limited.
Low enrollment in mathematics and science fields can be said to result from a number of
factors affecting women especially at different levels of schooling. For example traditional
and cultural expectations from different societies in the developing world in particular, seem
to have an influence on subject choice and selection especially at secondary school level.
        In the recent past, the gender differences in attitude towards the study of science
subjects namely, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology have received much
attention. Gender interrelates with other social variables in a significant ways, Rennie (1998),
Atwater (2000), Rennie (2000). Some of the past studies have reported that boys have more
positive attitude towards science, achieve better and have a higher preferences for Physics
and Chemistry. One of the major factors influencing students’ choice of science subject is
gender. According to Whitelaw et al. (2000), sex is probably the most important variable
related to pupils’ attitudes to science. Many studies for instance, Francis and Greer (1999),
Jones et al. (2000), reported that males have more positive attitudes toward science than
females. Also, Osborne et al. (2003) stressed that there is still a bias against physical sciences
held by girls, suggesting that at an individual level the overwhelming majority of girls still
choose not to opt physical science. In the same vein, Aigbomian (2002) observed that boys
perform better than girls in science, technical and mathematical subjects. It is generally
believed that socio-cultural and religious practices are at the root of this imbalance. In science
classes, boys often dominate laboratory equipment, controlling hands-on experiments while
girls observe and take notes.
        Also, since the inception Nobel Prize in 1901 until 2011, there are only 16 Female
Nobel Laureates out of 310 Nobel winners in the field of science which is 5.16% which is
quiet low than other non science fields.

         Category              Total Laureates       Female Laureates       % Female winner
 Physics                             105                    02                   1.9%
 Chemistry                           103                    04                  3.88%
 Medicine                            102                    10                   9.8%
 Other non science fields            239                    28                   12%

         Differences remain in boys' and girls' attitudes toward academic subjects. On average,
girls report liking mathematics and science less than boys, and having less confidence in their
ability to succeed at these subjects. Girls are more likely to suffer from math anxiety or tech
anxiety. They tend to perceive these subjects as being less useful in their lives, which may
diminish their achievement motivation in these areas. Hence, fewer girls plan to choose
careers in mathematics, science, or technology. Additionally, whereas boys tend to believe
their success in academics is the result of ability, girls tend to attribute academic successes
and failures to luck and other external factors. This attribution of success to factors other than
effort may lead some girls to feel helpless, particularly in subjects they perceive as male
domains.

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         Gender differences indicate to areas where student background, attitudes and
 characteristics significantly affect student performance. Understanding what can influence
 differences in student performance can help policy makers address quality and equity
 concerns. In order to identify the source of inequalities, fostering average performance and
 improving our understanding of how students learn, the study of gender differences are
 essential.

 METHODOLOGY

         A survey model has been used to determine male and female students’ attitudes
 towards the study of science subjects and about science. Data for the study were collected
 between Feb. 22, 2012 and Feb. 29, 2012. The questionnaire was distributed to the students
 during regular class sessions. Participants were instructed to read each item carefully, and
 then to tick the most desired option from multiple choice questions. The students
 participating in this exercise in each class completed the questionnaire provided to them.
 This study includes of approximately 200 boys and girls of Secondary level of academic year
 2011-2012 from Nimawat Public school, Fatehpur and Mody School, Lakshmangarh of
 District Sikar, Rajasthan.

 SUPPOSITION

        This research is based on the hypothesis that male students have different attitude
 towards the study of science subjects namely; Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology
 than female students.

     RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

         As the main purpose of this study was to examine differences by gender attitudes
 towards science, data collected from the participating schools were analyzed by using
 percentage, mean, and standard deviation for each question on subject related issues and
 results were presented in Table 1. From critical analysis, we observed that the girls and boys
 have significant different mean scores towards attitude in most of the subject related issues.
 In order to test whether these differences represent a real difference between the two groups
 of students or it was just a chance difference in our collected samples, a t-test was also used
 and presented in Table 2. A comparative study was performed on Pro- and Ant- attitudes on
 each subject related issue and presented in Fig. 1.

                  Table 1: Subject related issues and analysis of responses

Item     Item Description       Subject     %        %                     Result
 No.                                       Girls    Boys
        I enjoy   studying                                 There is a remarkable difference in the
                             Physics           7      21
1.      _______                                            enjoyment of Physics and Mathematics in
                             Chemistry         4       6   comparison to others among Boys and
                             Mathematics      36      24   Girls. Almost 3 times more Boys enjoyed
                             Biology          50      48   Physics than girls on the other hand 8%
                                                           more girls enjoyed Mathematics than
                             None              4       1   boys.

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2.   Level of difficulty     Physics       37     8   There is a reversal trend in Physics and
     (toughest subject)      Chemistry     17    42   Chemistry as difficulty level is concerned.
                             Mathematics   30    32   Almost 75% more girls feel that Physics
                             Biology       14    15   is difficult for them on the other hand
                                                      60% more boys feel difficulty in
                             None           3     1   Chemistry.
3.   I would like to do      Physics        4    18   This study shows a clear trend that Boys
     more _______ in         Chemistry      3    10   are more inclined towards Physical
     future.                 Mathematics   42    41   Sciences (PCM) and Girls are more
                             Biology       38    30   inclined towards Biological sciences or in
                                                      other subjects than science. 14% & 7%
                                                      more Boys want to do Physics and
                                                      Chemistry respectively in future on the
                                                      other hand 8% & 13% more Girls want to
                             None          14     1   do Biology or other subjects.
4.   It is waste of time     Physics       26    14   This study shows that 12% more Girls are
     performing              Chemistry     18    25   interested in performing Physics
     experiments in          Mathematics   39    38   experiments while 7% more Boys are
     ________when we         Biology       11    20   interested in performing chemistry
     can read them up in                              experiments. Overall Girls are less
     the textbooks.          None           7     1   interested in performing experiments.
5.   I admire people who     Physics       14    21   More Boys admire people who have good
     have good               Chemistry      7    11   knowledge of Physics and Chemistry on
     knowledge of _____      Mathematics   46    41   the other hand more Girls admire people
                             Biology       29    24   who have good knowledge of
                             None           5     3   Mathematics and Biology.
6.   I do not always like    Physics       30     3   30% Girls are not interested in attending
     to be in class during   Chemistry     26    42   Physics lessons which too high in
     ________                Mathematics   23    31   comparison to 3% Boys while in other
                             Biology       13    18   science subjects more number of Boys
                             None           9     6   less interested in attending lessons.
7.   ______laboratory        Physics       65    27   Significant no. (39%) of girls feel bored
     practical are very      Chemistry     21    38   in Performing Physics experiment on the
     boring.                 Mathematics    0     0   other hand 17-18% more Boys feel bored
                             Biology        7    25   in performing Chemistry and Biology
                             None           7    10   experiment.
8.   Do you feel             YES           43    48   There is no significant difference among
     derivations are         No            51    49   Girls and Boys regarding opinion on
     boring?                 UNCERTAIN      6     3   derivations.

9.   I like solving _____    Physics       12    27   Significant more Boys like solving
     problems                Chemistry      9    14   problem of Physics and Chemistry, while
                             Mathematics   58    45   more Girls like solving Mathematics and
                             Biology       17    13   Biology.
                             None           4     1
10   ______ is difficult,    Physics       34    18   Girls feel difficulty in handling Physics
     when it involves        Chemistry     42    68   apparatus while boys in chemistry. There
     handling apparatus      Biology       10     7   is no significant difference among girls
                                                      and boys in handling apparatus of
                                                      Biology.
                             None          15     7

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11.   There are too many       Physics       15    27   There are too many facts to learn in Physics
      facts to learn in ____   Chemistry     25    24   and Biology for Girls but for Boys in
                               Mathematics    9    21   Mathematics. There is no significant
                               Biology       49    28   difference among girls and boys about
                                                        learning the facts in Chemistry.

                               None           3     0
12.   I study ______ mainly    Physics       18     8   More % of Girls study science (PCB) mainly
      to pass examination      Chemistry     17    30   to pass examination. This study shows that
                               Mathematics   41    46   overall more number of girls are less
                               Biology       19    14   interested in studying science.
                               None           6     1
13.   _______textbooks are     Physics       35     3   For more girls Physics textbooks are difficult
      too difficult to         Chemistry     21    39   to understand but for boys Chemistry,
      understand               Mathematics   28    38   Mathematics and Biology textbooks.
                               Biology       10    14
                               None           7     6
14.   _____ helps me to be     Physics       18    28   For boys PCM helps more to be able to reason
      able to reason well      Chemistry      9    18   well while for girls Biology helps to be able to
                               Mathematics   24    28   reason well. This study also testify the results
                               Biology       45    23   of item no. 3
                               None           5     3
15.   ____ is not as           Physics       41    10   For girls Physics is not as interesting as other
      interesting as other     Chemistry     27    41   science subjects but for similar % of boys
      science subjects         Mathematics   12    28   (41%) Chemistry is not as interesting as other
                               Biology       14    18   science subjects.
                               None           7     3
16.   I think every            Physics        6    18   Boys have more stress on Physics while Girls
      secondary school         Chemistry      4     8   on Biology. Mathematics is subject upon
      student should be        Mathematics   55    51   which both Girls and Boys gave almost equal
      made to study -          Biology       26    21   stress.
      ________
                               None           9     1
17.   I like to help other     Physics        7    24   Human being readily agreed to help in the
      students with _______    Chemistry      3    10   area in which he feels himself much
      problems                 Mathematics   50    35   confident. This study shows that Boys like to
                               Biology       39    31   help other students in Physics and Chemistry
                                                        Problems but Girls are reluctant. Similarly
                                                        Girls feel much comfortable than Boys to help
                               None           2     0   other in Mathematics and Biology.
18.   I very often think       Physics       20    35   More Girls often think about ideas on Biology
      about the topics and     Chemistry     14    23   and more boys think about ideas on Physics
      ideas which I learn in   Mathematics   17    14   and Chemistry. There is not much significant
      _______                  Biology       48    27   difference among Boys and Girls regarding
                               None           2     1   ideas on Mathematics.
19.   Studying _______is       Physics       25     4   More Girls says that studying Physics is waste
      waste of time            Chemistry     32    56   of time means least important subject for them
                               Mathematics   18    14   while for more Boys studying Chemistry and
                               Biology        9    20   Biology is waste of time. Mathematics is
                               None          17     6   equally important for both.
20.   I always sleep during    Physics       37     3   Here ‘sleep’ represent lowest level of
      _______lessons           Chemistry     34    46   enjoyment. 37% Girls least enjoy Physics in
                               Mathematics   12    28   comparison to just 3% Boys. On the other
                               Biology        9    15   hand 46 %, 28% boys least enjoy Chemistry
                                                        and Biology respectively in comparison to
                               None           9     7   34%, 9% Girls.

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21.   I don’t like doing -       Physics       37     4   This study also shows disinterest towards the
      ______ assignments         Chemistry     19    42   subject and to solve the new problem which
                                 Mathematics   24    30   actually they have to attempt in assignments.
                                 Biology       14    24   37% Girls in comparison to only 4% Boys are
                                                          not interested in doing Physics assignments on
                                                          the other hand 42% Boys in comparison to
                                                          19% Girls are not interested in doing
                                 None           7     0   Chemistry assignments.
22.   ___ will help me to        Physics        7    24   More Boys and Girls have opinion that
      get a better job when I    Chemistry      1     7   Mathematics is more important than other
      leave school               Mathematics   62    52   science subject to secure job. For Physics,
                                 Biology       24    17   Chemistry and Biology their opinion is
                                 None           5     0   different.
23.   I would like a career      Physics        5    28   Highest number of Girls and boys want
      which involves             Chemistry      0    10   Mathematics based job but 28% Boys in
      _____________              Mathematics   55    42   comparison to 5% Girls are interested Physics
                                 Biology       27    20   based job. No girls is interested in Chemistry
                                                          based job. The trend is reversed in Biology
                                                          27% Girls in comparison to 20% Boys prefer
                                 None          13     0   Biology for their career.
24.   ___ is too complicated     Physics       34     6   Physics and Mathematics are complicated for
      for most students to       Chemistry     25    37   Girls; Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology
      understand                 Mathematics   35    44   are complicated for Boys.
                                 Biology        2    13
                                 None           5     1
25.   _____ is more              Physics       20    21   This study shows feelings of different genders
      important for boys         Chemistry      7    11   are different. Girls feel that 54% Girls in
      than for girls             Mathematics   54    30   comparison to 30% Boys feel that
                                 Biology       12    38   Mathematics is more important for boys than
                                                          for girls on the other hand 38% Boys in
                                                          comparison to 12% Girls feel that Biology is
                                 None           7     0   more important for boys than for girls.
26.   I have difficulty          Physics       33     1   33% Girls in comparison to 1% Boys feel that
      understanding the          Chemistry     31    46   scientific terms of Physics are difficult. 46%
      words and expressions      Mathematics   17    23   in comparison to 31% Girls feel scientific
      used in ______             Biology       16    30   terms of Chemistry are difficult. For scientific
                                                          terms of Biology 30 % Boys in comparison to
                                 None           4     0   16% Girls feel difficult.
27.   I find it difficult when   Physics       33     7   33% Girls feel Physics and 42% Girls feel
      I am asked to use what     Chemistry     18    32   Mathematics is difficult in interpreting after
      I have learned to solve    Mathematics   42    48   learning. On the other hand Boys have more
      new problems in            Biology        3    11   difficulty in interpreting Chemistry and
                                                          Mathematics. Highest number of Boys and
                                                          Girls both feel that Mathematics is more
                                 None           5     1   difficult to interpret.
28.   I am not sure what I       Physics       17    11   Boys and Girls both have opinion that they do
      am doing half the time     Chemistry     21    28   not know the objective while doing the
                                 Mathematics   38    45   problems of Mathematics.
                                 Biology       12    15
                                 None          13     0
29.   We have to do too          Physics       20    14   56% Girls & 31% Boys feel that Biology
      much writing in            Chemistry     14    38 require more writing on the other hand 38%
      science                    Mathematics    3    15 Boys feel that Chemistry require more writing
                                 Biology       56    31 work.
                                 None           7     1

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                                             Table 2 : Mean, Standard Deviation and t-test results
Subject                                                           Pro Subject                                         Anti Subject
                                          Girls                     Boys                     T                        Girls                     Boys                 T
                                          Mean         SD           Mean            SD       Test                     Mean       SD             Mean    SD           Test
Physics                                   0.991        5.657        2.451           3.718    2.041                    5.525      11.882         1.901   5.742        2.007
Chemistry                                 0.535        4.30         1.17            3.713    1.032                    4.109      8.214          6.873   8.937        1.54
Mathematics                               4.446        15.29        3.732           8.60     0.39                     4.218      14.371         5.113   7.525        0.53
Biology                                   3.396        11.26        2.521           6.90     0.63                     2.782      14.288         3.59    5.576        0.52


                                    Fig. 1 Results on Pro- and Anti- attitudes on each subject related issue
                                                                                                                                 AATS Physics
                                                                                                                 70
 40                                       PATS Physics                                                           60
                                                                                                                                                            % Girls

                                                                            %                                                                               % Boys
  Response (%)




                                                                                                                 50




                                                                                                  Response (%)
                                                                                                                 40
 20                                                                                                              30
                                                                                                                 20
                                                                                                                 10

      0                                                                                                           0

                                           PATS questionnaire                                                                      AATS questionnaire




                                          PATS Chemistry                                                                        AATS Chemistry
                            25                                           % Girls
                                                                                                                 80
                                                                                                                                                           % Girls
                                                                         % Boys                                  70
                                                                                                                                                           % Boys
                            20
                                                                                                                 60
                                                                                                  Response (%)
            Response (%)




                            15                                                                                   50
                                                                                                                 40
                            10                                                                                   30
                                                                                                                 20
                                5
                                                                                                                 10
                                0                                                                                 0
                                             PATS questionnaire                                                                   AATS questionnaire




                                         PATS Mathematics                 % Girls                                              AATS Mathematics
                       70                                                                                        60                                       % Girls
                                                                          % Boys                                                                          % Boys
                       60                                                                                        50
                       50
   Response (%)




                                                                                                  Response (%)




                                                                                                                 40
                       40
                                                                                                                 30
                       30
                       20                                                                                        20

                       10                                                                                        10
                           0
                                                                                                                 0
                                            PATS questionnaire
                                                                                                                                  AATS questionnaire




                                                                                                                                                          % Girls
                                           PATS Biology                                                                          AATS Biology
                           60                                                                                    60                                       % Boys
                                                                        % Girls
                           50                                           % Boys                                   50
                                                                                                  Response (%)
        Response (%)




                           40                                                                                    40

                           30                                                                                    30

                           20                                                                                    20

                           10                                                                                    10

                           0                                                                                     0
                                             PATS questionnaire                                                                  AATS questionnaire




                                                                                            118
International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –
6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

CONCLUSIONS

All the items of the questionnaire either show enjoyment, liking, pleasure, satisfaction, easy,
important in life etc. like feeling towards the subjects are categorized as Pro Attitude
Towards Subject (PATS), and disliking, difficult, uninspiring, unimportant in life etc. like
feeling are categorized as Anti Attitude Towards Subject (AATS). These data have, therefore
been analyzed by separating the items in every subject and graphs are plotted separately for
PATS and AATS opinion.

The findings of this study showed that there were significant differences between girls and
boys in terms of “enjoyment of different science subjects”, “ level of difficulty in each
subject” etc.
• PATS Physics graph shows that boys in comparison to girls have more positive attitude
    towards Physics where as AAT S Physics graph shows more negative attitude of girls
    towards Physics.
• PATS chemistry graph shows that girls are less interested in chemistry in comparison to
    boys, on the other hand from AATS Chemistry graph the level of difficulty towards
    chemistry among the girls is also not too high.
• For Mathematics, both PATS and AATS scenario are almost same. It means that there is no
    significant attitudinal difference towards Mathematics among girls and boys.
• From PATS Biology graph girls have more interest in Biology than boys, on the other
    hand AATS graph shows that even Biology is not too difficult for boys.
• The t-test results clearly show that there is a highly significant difference in attitude
    towards Physics and Chemistry among girls and boys, whereas in Mathematics and
    Biology difference in attitude merely significant.
Since the development of attitudes toward science is a complex function of cultural,
biological, psychological, educational and social factors, it is recommended that an integrated
approach should be adopted for investigating gender and developmental differences in
attitudes toward sci In order to arrest this situation, necessary efforts must be put in place to
ensure that opting of science subjects at school level are not only to pass examination to fulfil
the requirements for entry into engineering, medical or any such professional programmes of
studies but to continue the studies in these disciplines at higher level as well.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We gratefully acknowledge the Director, Col. P C Sharma and Mr. Deepak Kumar Bugalia
of Nimawat Secondary school, Fatehpur, and Ms. Renu Seghal, Principal Mody School for
their support and input at early stages of this exercise. We would also like to thank the Dean,
Faculty of Engineering and Technology, MITS for the use of facilities to complete this work.

REFERENCES

[1] Rennie.L.J. (1998). Gender equity: Toward clarification and research direction for science
     teacher education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35, 951-961.
[2] Rennie.L.J. (2000). Equity in science education: Gender is just one variable: reply to
     Atwater, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37, 391-393.


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6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 1, January- February (2013)

[3] Atwater, M. M. (2000). Females in science education: White is the norm and class,
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[4] Whitelaw S., Milosevic L., Daniels S. (2000), Gender behaviour and achievement: A
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[5] Francis L., Greer J (1999), Measuring attitudes towards science among secondary school
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[6] Jones G., Howe A., Rua M. (2000), Gender differences in students’ experiences, interests,
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[7] Osborne J., Simon S., Collins S (2003), Attitudes towards science: A review of the
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[8] Aigbomian D.O. (2002), Science for All: Implication for the Teacher and National
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