Visibility matters: increasing knowledge of women’s contributions to ecology

Recent scholarship about women and science is a good source of material for addressing the under-representation of women in science. This review is the result of an interdisciplinary fusion of science and women’s studies to critically assess teaching tools in undergraduate ecology education. We examine: (1) the representation of women and the coverage of social and cultural context in introductory ecology textbooks, and (2) student learning about women’s contributions to ecology. Discipline demographics reveal that women are presented in textbooks less often than expected, and that explicit discussions of the social and cultural context of science are rare. When course content is enriched with material about women’s contributions, student’s awareness of women scientists improves. Such knowledge can play a critical role in proactively challenging students’ perceptions of ecology and ecologists, creating a more positive classroom climate for all students, and introducing novel avenues of questioning and discovery.

Posted in ,