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A Gendered “Ideal?” Discourses that Characterize the Ideal Scientist

Laura Parson, Ariel Steele, Emily Wilkins


Using the framework of Acker’s (1990) theory of gendered organizations, this study sought describe the ideal scientist by identifying the discourses that guided the process of becoming a scientist. Data collection focused on identifying the day-to-day work involved with becoming a scientist or mathematician and, then, identifying the discourses that coordinated the work of becoming a scientist or mathematician. The findings suggest that the ideal scientist is defined according to masculine discourses which creates challenges for women students.


STEM higher education, institutional ethnography, women in STEM, chilly climate, leaky pipeline

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