Why are Women Under-represented in STEM in Higher Education in Tanzania?


  • Rose Ephraim Matete The University of Dodoma




Women’s underrepresentation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has been documented worldwide. This study investigated the factors underlying women’s underrepresentation in STEM in higher education in Tanzania. The study employed a qualitative research approach that was informed by historical design. Data were collected through a systematic literature review and analyzed using a content analysis. Drawing from the literature, the study findings indicate that a lack of women’s participation in STEM is due to both socio-cultural and psychological factors. Sociological factors indicate that a patriarchal system and male dominance perpetuate gender inequality in STEM. Findings also indicate that cultural myths and beliefs that the science field is hard and that women are incapable of handling masculine activities hinder women from participating in science-related fields. The findings indicate further that a lack of laboratories in Tanzanian secondary schools force teachers to teach science subjects by using theories as an alternative to practical instruction. From a psychological point of view, evidence suggests that a lack of confidence among female students themselves regarding performance in science subjects hinders them from participating in STEM fields. It is recommended in this paper that if Tanzanian female students are to participate in science-related subjects in Higher Learning Institutions (HLIs), the government needs to orient them towards science subjects at the primary school level for them to build up an interest in science-related subjects. In addition, the training of science teachers remains imperative.







How to Cite

Why are Women Under-represented in STEM in Higher Education in Tanzania?. (2022). FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 7(2), 48-63. https://doi.org/10.32865/fire202172261