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Politics a "Chilly" Environment for Undergraduate Women in Norway


Ballen, Cissy J.
Lee, Dahsol
Rakner, Lise
Sehoya, Cotner


Gender differences in academic performance and attitudes are widespread in male-stereotyped disciplines but rarely are studied in the social sciences. To assess the extent that gender influences the behavior of undergraduate women in political science, participation was analyzed in a large (N = 130) introductory comparative-politics class at the University of Bergena large public university in Norway. In the 2016 fall semester, observers documented classroom behaviors of men and women using a protocol that characterizes types of in-class participation. Findings showed that women participate less than expected given their observed numbers in the classroom. After the semester ended, we provided an opportunity for students to describe why they chose to participate and whether they felt that barriers existed in the classroom that prevented them from expressing their opinions. This article characterizes those responses and presents the first study to draw conclusions about the gendered educational experience in political science by integrating these qualitative and quantitative results.