What are the Problem Representations and Assumptions About Gender Underlying Research on Gender in Physics and Physics Education? A Systematic Literature Review





gender, physics education research, problem representations, poststructuralist analysis, systematic literature review


This work offers a systematic literature review of Brazilian and international research on gender in physics and physics education published over the last decade (2010–2019). We draw on a poststructuralist analytical approach to discuss assumptions about gender and forms of problematization of gender inequalities in physics, referred as problem representations, underlying one hundred and thirty studies. Results show that most studies (76.9%) assume a binary gender model that restricts “gender” to sex-specific issues related to female individuals. The “problem” is represented as the low number of women pursuing careers related to physics. The implied solution is to attract girls to physics and retain female academics in their careers. Around 22.3% of studies assume that “gender” is a relational construct that constitutes power relations between individuals, who may or may not conform to hetero-cis-normative social expectations. The “problem” is represented as the reproduction of gender discourses and stereotypes within and about the cultures of physics and physics education. Only one study assume “gender” as one of several axes of a complex and dynamic power system that constrains knowledge production in physics, then representing the “problem” as a matter of how theories and practices are perpetuated in the field. We conclude that a call for more gender diversity in physics and physics education should not only address hetero-cis-normative conceptions of gender, but should also challenge strict and specific cultural, social and epistemological norms within the physics community.


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Como Citar

Vidor, C. de B. ., Danielsson, A., Rezende, F., & Ostermann, F. (2020). What are the Problem Representations and Assumptions About Gender Underlying Research on Gender in Physics and Physics Education? A Systematic Literature Review. Revista Brasileira De Pesquisa Em Educação Em Ciências, 20(u), 1133–1168. https://doi.org/10.28976/1984-2686rbpec2020u11331168




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