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ABSTRACT American research on womens scientific underrepresentation has relied mainly on studies in the United States survey-type research and Western cultural models This paucity of cross-cultural data especially from non-western cultures impedes our understanding of cross- cultural variations in the science gender gap and significant cultural variability within American society This paper reports results of anthropologically-oriented research exploring how the cultural and social context in which science is learned and practiced contributes to the gendering of science Ethnographic research carried out in India in 1988 focused on female college student decisions to enter scientific academic fields In 1989-90 the study was expanded to a broader pre-college student sample using a culturally-meaningful questionnaire created for this purpose and 4 Western mathscience questionnaires adapted to the Indian context Preliminary analyses of these data suggest a theory of the sexual division of Indian scientific labour in which macrostructural features educational system occupational and class structure intersect with cultural models of family gender and science to frame the academic decision making process producing ultimately a predominantly male scientific community These findings question the generalizability of American-generated deficit theories of female scientific underrepresentation to non-Western cultural settings suggest new factors that might be significant cross-culturally as well as in the West and have implications for the design of international programs for increasing womens scientific representation Gender science and technology has become a focus of inquiry for scholars from a wide-variety of disciplines The voluminous literature ranges from new forms of gender hierarchy resulting from technologies introduced by multinational corporations in Third World nations cf Warren and Bourque 1989 to the impact of cooperative learning strategies on girls performance in science courses See Kelly 1992 Weisbard and Apple 1993 for a comprehensive bibliography KEY WORDS gender science Indian women women and education cross-cultural studies of family and womens education A central issue in the United States has been American womens continuing under-
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