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Integrating gender perspectives on teaching and subject content at a natural science university in Sweden

Stina Powell, Malin Ah-King

Abstract


This article describes an action research project aiming at integrating gender and norm critical perspectives into teaching and subject content at a predominantly natural science university, in Sweden. At this university there is an uneven gender balance of students in the education programs. This is perceived by students and teachers as problematic. But rather than initiating activities aiming at a 50-50% distribution of the sexes represented in the classroom, this specific project focused on increasing awareness of gender and norm critical perspectives on teaching in order to ameliorate the study environment. University teachers were the main target for the intervention. The project was conducted by 1) investigating teachers' and students' experiences, attitudes and needs related to gender equality in education, 2) grounding the project in the existing university structure, 3) performing interventions, i.e. holding courses 4) evaluating outcomes and enabling visions for future continuation and 5) presenting outcomes and visions to responsible committees at the university. This project shows that it is possible to integrate gender and norm critical perspectives on teaching and subject content into natural science education. The article discusses and critically reflects on the implementation process of the project and its strengths and challenges.


Keywords


Gender equality, natural sciences, norm critical pedagogy, gender equality change, action research, academia, study environment

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