Research is an integral element in any science subject where psychology is part. It entails an array of activities which must be carried out adeptly for it to be a success.
However, since its inception, gender bias has been a contentious issue as science and research are considered to be innately associated with maleness. Gender bias in research and science is associated with various implications that affect women more as compared with men.
Gender bias in research arose from the perception that science grew from activities of man. As a result, this perception is associated with the continued gender bias in the contemporary world.
Harvard president Lawrence summers indicated that women, as opposed to men are less capable of being scientists and Steinke & Long (1996) showed the proportion of male to female scientists was 2:1 (Brannon 35).
An example is in the movie world where scientists are mostly male. Women on the other hand are found in the background scenes. 80% of women have secondary/ supporting roles in children’s science programming.
This shows that it is widely perceived that women are less capable of becoming competent scientists in research as illustrated in the case of movies where research is essential.
It was not until in the 1990s that female scientists were shown to be professionals and competent. Despite the fact that female scientists appear in some movies, they do not reveal female characteristics, rather they portray characteristics that are common to male scientists.
The feminine characteristic role associated with females is not revealed in movies since masculinity is inherently associated with science. Therefore, science does not factor in women’s characters and feminine roles.
Lack of recognition of feminine characters in science and research does not look into issues affecting women such as sexual harassment and achievements by women (Brannon 41).
The main elements in science are rationality and objectivity, which are masculine values. Keller, 1985 argues that science is suggestive of maleness due to the rationale and dominance prevalent in the field (Brannon 36).
It is because of this that science and research fails to recognize the positive effects that are associated with distinct feminine and masculine roles as should be the case in research.
Bias in research only tends to push the females to the side as they are considered to be the weaker gender hence research will mainly focus on issues affecting the males as opposed to the females. That is why there is a need to greatly reduce bias in science and research and instead embrace both genders.
Theories like Freud’s theory on the importance of sexual differences with regard to building personality create gender bias in science (Brannon 37). These theories are mere statements that do not have evidence to back them up.
Unfortunately, they are mistaken to be the solid truth and in turn bring about bias in research. As a matter of fact, much emphasis is not placed on the validity of null hypothesis; rather, alternative hypotheses are followed more closely (Brannon 41).
These biases have greatly affected research in various ways. To start with, gender bias interferes with the problem to be investigated due to the influence of societal and personal values.
As such researchers tend to focus on studies inclined towards men such as a study whose subject is heart disease rather than breast cancer among middle-aged populations. There are difficulties in selecting variables because of the use of incomplete, inaccurate and misleading definitions.
In the case of rape for example, due to gender bias, forced sexual acts and men are excluded as victims. Gender bias is also evident when choosing a design in research since the chosen design may not be suitable for evaluation. An example is where the chosen design may provoke anxiety among women and not among men (Brannon 41).
Research and science is inherently associated with masculinity and as such, it fails to recognize the fact that women have a unique point of view and varying cognitive process that are not comparable to those of men.
As a result, research should include both men and women, whereby the characteristic traits of each gender should be recognized and appropriately utilized to improve research and decrease bias.
This way, women’s characteristic roles in scientific movies would be recognized and appropriate methodologies would be adopted in research.
Brannon, Linda. Gender: Psychological Perspectives. 5th ed. New York, NY: Pearson, 2007