1 Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
2 Universitat de València (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2024 Proceedings
Publication year: 2024
Pages: 2268-2273
ISBN: 978-84-09-59215-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2024.0626
Conference name: 18th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-6 March, 2024
Location: Valencia, Spain
Although in primary and secondary school girls and adolescents share the same teachers with their classmates, textbooks and activities for physics and mathematics contain messages that associate boys with the world of ideas and science. Gender stereotypes, covert messages, and unconscious signals about the socially attributed roles for boys and girls, as well as differentiated socialization, contribute to the latter's lack of interest in STEM careers. This phenomenon is widespread globally, a key factor being the lack of role models for female students about women's contributions to science. For example, the lack of visibility of successful female engineers makes it difficult for young women to imagine themselves in engineering studies. Female students have little sense of belonging, even within the university institution itself. The low presence of female students is paralleled by the lack of women on the faculty and in managerial and representative positions in the technological areas. In a male-dominated environment, these social and cultural influences, and the lack of role models, may lead women to have less confidence in their technical competences and show less interest in pursuing a career in engineering.
The question arises as to whether there is a real basis for this gender disparity, a difference in competences, or whether, on the contrary, there are unjustified prejudices.

The teaching methods currently used in universities demand students a combination of individual tasks and teamwork. There are some gender differences in terms of skills and preferences that may affect students' ability to work in teams. Women tend to be better than men at communication, cooperation and conflict resolution. Whereas men express their opinions more directly and are more likely to take the initiative.

The aim of this study is to explore, from a gender perspective, the effects of teamwork in the subject Electricity in the first year of the degree in Electronics and Industrial Automation at the Universitat Politècnica de València. The hypothesis is that the prejudices and problems generally pointed out in the bibliography in the teamwork carried out by students are reflected in how the teams are organized and the results they obtain. It is hypothesized that teams made up of women and men perform better as they benefit from the abilities of each gender.

The proportion of all-male groups (51% of the teams) does not conform to an even distribution of women, which would be 1 or 2 per group. The results show that, in teamwork, women are more persevering and committed to the tasks they are assigned, delivering all the proposed exercises. In addition, the result of the evaluations shows a higher average for women and mixed groups, they obtain a higher performance in teamwork.

Our results show that the proposed assignments, practical exercises and writing a document in formal language in a cooperative way, are better suited to the skills of women than those of men. Thus, enhancing gender diversity in STEM careers could have wide-ranging benefits for society.
Gender inequality in STEM fields is detrimental for social justice and gender equity. Moreover, a diverse range of experiences and viewpoints in the workplace is a key driver of innovation and creativity. The lack of parity and diversity in major decision-making environments excludes the voice of under-represented groups, and thus omits their needs.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, Gender gap, Gender differences, Physics, First-year Undergraduate students.