Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Fatih Ari


Social influence from society holds the key to social norms that influence students and their future aspirations. Gender bias is considered one of the influencing factors that affects the decisions of female high school students on participating in STEM education. This descriptive study describes the key factors that STEM educators perceived as influential for female high school students' participation in STEM education. The research questions of the study included: (1) What are high school STEM educators’ perceptions regarding gender bias in the STEM School of Study cluster at Skyler High School and (2) What factors do high school STEM educators perceive as contributing to low participation among female high school students within the STEM School of Study cluster at Skyler High School. The study consisted of twenty participants STEM educators at Skyler High school. The five data collection sources included: Perceptions of STEM Participant Survey, DASS Instrument (DASS), Sex Typing of Occupation Survey and Semi-structured interviews. Quantitative data analysis was conducted by performing descriptive statistics including mean and standard deviation. Frequency counts were conducted to analysis the data from the Sex Occupation Survey. Qualitative data was analyzed through inductive analysis, peer debriefing and member checking. The study found an educational push for female students to enroll in humanitarian courses. The study revealed that gender bias, biological influences, social norms, stereotypes of STEM students and underrepresentation of female students can influence female high school student’s enrollment in STEM education. The participants perceived certain careers as more feminine or masculine, such as a registered nurse as feminine and waste management as masculine. The influential factors perceived by the STEM educators align with Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (1997) of behavioral, environmental and individual factors. The significance and implications of this study was to explore the influential factors that educators perceive to create a barrier for the underrepresentation of females in STEM fields and education. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations for increasing female high school female students in STEM education including early interventions, professional development, and community involvement will be discussed in the recommendation section of the chapter.


© 2023, Haleigh Nicole Kirkland