Gender effects in perceived recognition as a physicist and physics identity

Ewan Bottomley, Kenneth I. Mavor, Paula J. Miles, Antje Kohnle, Vivienne Wild

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution


This study investigated gender differences in perceived recognition as a physicist and its relation to physics identity. We surveyed 688 physics majors (228 women, 460 men) at a research-intensive university in the UK at both the lower and upper undergraduate levels with items measuring perceived recognition and physics identity. Similar to other studies, we find that women report lower recognition as a physicist from their instructors, families and friends compared to men. In contrast, there were no gender differences in students' perceptions of friends asking them for their advice/input in physics-related problems. Perceived recognition from instructors was lower than recognition from family and friends for both men and women. We find that both perceived recognition from instructors and physics identity are significantly lesser for upper level students compared with lower level students. Multiple linear regressions for men and women students individually found that both perceived recognition from instructors and from family/friends predicted students' physics identity. These results may indicate a shift in students' understanding of what it means to be a physicist as they progress through the degree program. The results point to further research being needed to understand better the mechanism by which students form perceptions of instructors seeing them as physics people.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event2021 Physics Education Research Conference -
Duration: 4 Aug 20215 Aug 2021


Conference2021 Physics Education Research Conference
Abbreviated titlePER 2021
Internet address


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