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The Gender Chip Project

Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Helen DeMichiel
Directed by Helen DeMichiel
DVD, color, 54 min.
College - Adult
Careers, Education, Science Education, Women's Studies

Reviewed by Hope Marie Cook, Curriculum Center Librarian, Eastern Connecticut State University

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 11/17/2006

This video is a documentary that was prepared at Ohio State University-Columbus. Its focus revolves around female students who were pursuing a degree in male dominated fields of study and work. The students were tracked over a three year period as they engaged in coursework in the sciences, engineering and math. An exploration of the academic and workplace culture that discourages women from following their career goals is discussed. Several conversations between faculty and this group of students bring to light the obstacles that each has faced as well as the fears, experiences, and goals that are all a part of their educational experience. All have an awareness of the possible conflicts concerning personal and professional achievements and the demands of balancing work, marriage and children. Over time, each student works through their own self doubt and develops confidence and a determination to exist on their own merit with less of a concern on how males in the field will view them.

This documentary gives an insightful view of the thoughts, motivations and challenges that women deal with when deciding upon a career choice in a discipline where your peers are intimidating and unwelcoming. The obvious hurdles are handled and viewed in a reflective manner as the characters steer their way toward a better understanding about their own needs and expectations.

The audio and video quality is excellent. This resource is highly recommended with great potential for use in many collections. These materials would be beneficial to teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators who have the responsibility of assisting female students with applying to higher education. It would also benefit those who have the obligation of developing gender neutral curricula that encourages each student to experiment with a variety of learning opportunities when developing their career path. In ten years time it would be interesting to see a follow-up documentary that examines the continued growth of each student as they leave the academic arena and join the work force.