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Posted on May 4th, 2014, by

Females in the Sciences during the 17th and 18th Centuries

Is situation in the STEM fields going to alter someday? To answer this question it is vital to trace the progress of women in the USA during previous centuries. During the 17th and 18th centuries, females were usually treated as the inferior of the 2 sexes. Ladies were expected to be educated merely in how to take care of the family, house, how to cook, how to raise children, and other traditional jobs that were thought to be appropriate for a female. Nevertheless, since the Scientific Revolution took place, more females started to take interest in learning other things, for instance, medicine, chemistry, astronomy. The reactions towards the participation of ladies in STEM fields during the 17th and 18th centuries were positive and negative; some human beings were totally against it, some people supported it, and some females supported their gender by proving themselves in the respective fields of education.

In spite of the fact that there were lots of men, who could not accept that females were starting to learn science, there were many males who actually supported ladies, who participated in scientific activities. Many times, men permit and encourage their wives to participate in scientific researches. For instance, husband of Catherine Littlefield Greene supported her love to various inventions. Therefore, she was capable to create the cotton gin – an invention, which revolutionized the plantation economy of the US south. Dubbed “saw engine,”¯ the cotton gin separated seeds from fibers mechanically. The machine was utilizing a cylinder comprising rows of sharp teeth. When cylinder rotated through the usage of a hand crank, teeth passed through ribs on a steady comb. Once a mass of cotton was put in the gin and a crank twisted, cotton fibers were pushed by teeth and pulled through a comb, whilst cotton seeds, too huge to pass through the rib, were separated. This invention was capable to create fifty pounds of pure cotton a day.

Women in the Sciences in 20th and 21st Centuries

Today female-engineers enjoy more freedom and respect than females, who lived in 17th and 18th centuries. For instance, today it is not strange to hear about the primary female member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Kate Gleason, who obtained this position, started to work in the age of 12. In 1884, young girl was accepted to the Cornell University to learn mechanical arts. By 1893, she assisted her father in designing machines, which created beveled gears rapidly and cheaply. Even Henry Ford credited young lady, rather than girl’s father for the invention when he asserted it was “the most extraordinary invention ever done by a female”¯ (Bystydzienski, Bird, 54-80). Until 1901, Gleason was a secretary-treasurer of the company and probably the globe’s primary lady seller of machine parts. Consequently, Gleason Works became the main American manufacturer of the gear-cutting machinery and in 1918, she was elected the initial female member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Importance of Females’ Encouragement

The alteration of the American economy into the knowledge-based Information Age is under way, making science, engineering, mathematics and technology even more critical to the future of the students. Yet according to the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, more than fifty percent of students think about dropping advanced math and science courses, regardless of the career interests and without realizing the results (Barton, 1-5).

Math, science, engineering, and technology are especially significant for females, who traditionally have been underrepresented in STEM fields. Over the past 2 decades, females, including young girls, have progressed and are starting to close the gap in some spheres. For instance, the types of courses taken in high school and the amount of courses taken have increased. Nowadays more young girls are taking algebra and geometry than in 1990. Taking these courses is seen as a main predictor of whether a student will carry on to college. In college, young ladies are majoring in math and science spheres at a higher rate. Females time after time obtain equivalent or higher grades than boys during the educational experience.

I am confident that programs to support young girls in STEM fields are required for these grounds:

  • Nowadays white females and ladies of color are still not sufficiently presented in science employment. It is due in part to the comparatively low contribution in higher degree college science courses.
  • Mathematics is still a serious filter. Low-income girl-students and especially people of color who take math go to university in numbers equivalent to wealthier white girls. Nevertheless, only half as lots of low-income girls and people of color take serious courses.
  • Middle-class students today choose about the same amount of high school science courses as middle-class boys. Still, in college girls are less appropriate to major in science fields than are correspondingly gifted boys (Glater). They drop out at higher degrees.
  • Low-income female students have had access to much fewer programs in comparison to middle-class young girls. For them there is a requirement for programs to core on: rising interest in mathematics, altering student and educator expectations, encouraging young females to take enough science so they may have a broader option of colleges and jobs.

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