Life-Experiences of Female Students in Physics: The Outsiders Within

Dagmar Mercedes Heeg, Lucy Avraamidou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this multiple case study was to examine the kinds of experiences that were critical to the physics trajectories of four purposefully selected undergraduate female physics students in central Europe. The data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews and were analyzed following an inductive approach and a combination of open and in-vivo coding. The findings showed that: (a) all participants experienced a lack of sense of belonging in physics because of stereotypes and biases about the role of women in physics, which were evident both in classroom discourses and lack of recognition by their instructors and their male peers; (b) the intersection of gender and physics identity served as a barrier to the participants’ perceived recognition (by others) as competent physics persons as well as their sense of belonging in physics; and, (c) all participants pointed to the lack of role-models and specifically women of color in academia.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberem1983
Number of pages12
JournalEURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 19-Jun-2021


  • physics education
  • life-history
  • gender
  • case study


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