Girls' inequity in science and education: positive factors contributing to female high school students choosing to major in physics

The purpose of this research was to identify factors contributing to female students selecting physics as their major in college. The data is based on a survey given to female students in the Physics program at a public, comprehensive, coeducational high school in southern California during the 2007-08 school year. El Camino High School is located in the City of Oceanside and has a very diverse student population. Results from my research suggest that educators and school administrators are key components influencing school factors. Although 302 girls enrolled in the Physics classes, only 228 female students actually participated in the survey. Of these, 22 girls intended to major in Physics. By ethnicity there were: 14 Hispanics, 4 Blacks, 2 White, and 2 others. All twentytwo students enjoyed Physics. The number of students who enjoyed learning Physics correlated to school influences such as class, teacher, and the curriculum. Eighteen of the students had at least one science field trip or more in their academic career. Other contributing factors inspiring the 22 girls to choose Physics as a college major included equal treatment in science classes, science related field trips, activities, and family relationships. Keywords: college majors, education, girls' inequity, high school, Hispanic females, Physics