Earlier on I thought it was due to lack of female role models (there were and unfortunately still far fewer female science teachers than there are male science teachers, I hope the number changes). But as I explored the issue further I found that not only were there fewer female teachers (I remember going to a science teacher’s conference and being the only woman in the room with 10 other men and that happened repeatedly at professional development sessions), but also there were next to no female scientists mentioned in textbooks, or the curriculum. Like my science fiction experiences as a teen, these female students couldn’t find themselves within the text.
I made one very important connection over the years as an adult high school teacher – role models and images of self in context mattered. I embedded positive female images within my curriculum and I also brought the great “what if” and “why” questions of science fiction into the classroom. The impetus for my life’s work was born in those moments!