Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

John A. Weaver

Committee Member 1

William Reynolds

Committee Member 2

Marla Morris

Committee Member 3

Nancy Malcom

Committee Member 3 Email



Women are significantly underrepresented in the hard sciences and engineering. While the number of women seeking degrees in these fields has increased in the last forty years, a substantial gap still exists between the sexes. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine one area of influence on career choice -- the curriculum. Women scientists are underrepresented in the school curriculum. This dissertation examines the discourse of curriculum and the role it has in the gendering of the field of science. The nature of the development of a curriculum lends itself to the practice of exclusion. The construction of curriculum is a human act. As a human act, the development of the curriculum is guided by choices made by those in positions of power. In examining the curriculum, one should ask whose knowledge is being represented? A critical analysis of the official curriculum and the textbooks which drive it reveals that women are steered away from participating in the hard sciences and engineering due to the gendering of these fields. An examination of three women's lives Maria Mitchell, Ellen Swallow Richards, and Rachel Carson expose the potential impact of including women in textbooks and the official curriculum. The names Rachel Carson, Ellen Richards, and Maria Mitchell should not disappear from our lexicon. The struggles these women overcame in order to advance our knowledge of the world can inform the next generation of students on the lines of flight which exist despite the oppressive nature of the culture of science Reynolds & Webber, 2004.

Research Data and Supplementary Material