Research that makes a difference
Tech disciplines need female input
Women should also determine and develop the technology of the future and contribute to new ways of thinking. These are some of the arguments for creating better gender balance among engineers, IT programmers and other technical and scientific industries.
In her PhD thesis, Jette Sandager from the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at CBS examines what guides the educational choices of girls – with a special focus on the so-called STEM programmes. (STEM focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
What led you to work on this particular research project?
There is a lot going on in my research field regarding girls in STEM at the moment. Everyone everywhere is doing everything they can to get more girls to engage in STEM and this allows me to work with everything from gender, glitter, Barbie, time, power, emotions, organisation and leadership.
What do you hope to discover – and do you have any conclusions yet?
I hope to figure out how to support more girls in pursuing a future in STEM in the best possible way. My research suggests that many girls actually have a STEM interest, but even with the best of intentions we tend to present them with a STEM field they may find difficult to see themselves in. So we need to adopt new strategies if we want to encourage more girls to pursue their STEM dreams.
Has anything surprised you along the way?
Yes, how fierce this field is! Everyone from Obama to public educational institutions, the United Nations and private tech companies wants to be part of the girls in STEM field, and it creates a dynamic, almost uncontrollable field of very high activity – and many interesting things to delve into for a researcher in organisation and management.
Who is your knowledge relevant to?
As my research is focused on educational practices, public policy and private companies, I will hopefully be able to present findings that can inform a wide range of different actors on how to work more constructively to motivate more girls to engage in STEM.
What is the impact of your research so far?
Because many people have an interest in girls in STEM, I have been allowed to share my research in various papers and journals, just as I have contributed to a public exhibition on girls in STEM. In April, my colleague, Justine Grønbæk Pors, and I will present several findings from our research project to a group of practitioners. Right now I'm busy with my PhD thesis which is due at the end of March, but I look forward to sharing my project afterwards.