Effect of culture on women physicists' career choice: A comparison of Muslim majority countries and the West
Date of this Version
Women continue to be underrepresented in physics in the United States. This is while many Muslim majority (MM) countries have a high representation of women in undergraduate and graduate physics programs. While there is a growing awareness of this trend, little is being done to understand why and how this trend has manifested and how it can be used to inform broadening the participation of women in physics in the U.S. To better understand how cultural experiences can influence the pursuit of physics, this study examines the lived experiences of female physics faculty members in the U.S. who came from MM countries. The study draws on seven phenomenological interviews focusing on how cultural experiences shaped participants' gender and physics identities. The results reveal several possible hypotheses on differences and similarities in how physics and gender identities intersect in MM countries as opposed to what has been found in the West. In particular, expressions of femininity in MM countries can have a more constructive intersection with expressions of physics identity in ways that promote participation and persistence.
Moshfeghyeganeh, Saeed and Hazari, Zahra, "Effect of culture on women physicists' career choice: A comparison of Muslim majority countries and the West" (2021). All Faculty. 414.