Monday, January 24, 2011

Research Progress Report #1 - Joseph White

I will be researching the areas of gender and race differences in Malta. This will focus on positions of these demographics in both professional and households fields as well as in, specifically, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. One note: in the household environment, I have found that domestic violence is exceedingly prevalent. It seems that this fact may give a sign as to where the rest of these topics currently lie. These topics will also include historical as well as contemporary patterns of these statuses.

I am currently focused on various papers which include topics such as slavery (historical) and SAIL, a multicultural engineering project initiative (contemporary) to name just a couple. Other papers I have found do not focus directly on these topics, but I hope to find useful information within them such as specific breakdowns by year of things including population, or gender and age of political offices. This data is given for many consecutive years; therefore, I hope to see some kind of pattern or maybe see a drastic change in women’s or other civil rights as time progresses, possibly even correlating with times of other civil rights movements around the world. Interestingly, Malta did not grant women suffrage until the late 1940’s (compare this to the 1921 granting of women’s suffrage in the US). Women also did not have equal right in family law until the 1990s. It will be interesting to see how these comparatively late movements for women play into their current place in the professional fields. In regards to this, I have found that at the very least, women are extremely under-represented in management positions.

It is a bit difficult to find data due to a small amount of research done on these topics in Malta. Another challenge is looking specifically for STEM areas of interest when they concern women or people of color. This is due to the fact that most papers or sources of information simply talk about the field and the research done, rather than who is performing the research: making it difficult to identify how significant a role women and people of color played in these fields.

Concepts and themes I am focusing on include whether or not there is a significant segregation in the workforce based upon gender or ethnicity (especially in STEM fields). The approach I have found (and believe will be) most successful is not to look for articles relating to STEM and see if they touch on the subjects I am focused on: this is unrealistic. But rather look for articles focusing on women and people of color in Malta, and STEM fields will be a bonus.

I have also found a prevalence of contemporary articles as opposed to historical articles. This, I believe is for 2 reasons. One, research from Malta is somewhat rare and most research has occurred in the recent past. Second, there is more of a focus now than ever on STEM fields which promotes further publications of such topics.

I hope to narrow down my searching and specify what I should be concentrating on based on knowledge I gain from some of the articles I have. A lot of the (somewhat) historical data has given me a better idea of what to look for in regards to these topics.

1 comment:

  1. Joseph, this is a really good start. Quite soon in the course, we will be looking at an article by Londa Schiebinger called "meters of equity." In it she draws from literature in the sociology of professions to talk about 3 different types of "segregation" within professions. Two of those types are particularly relevant here: 1) hierarchical segregation, which is similar to the idea of the glass ceiling, but suggests that at each step of increased authority and prestige, you see fewer women and fewer people of color and 2) what Schiebinger calls territorial segregation (also called occupational segregation), which is looking at patterns of overrepresentation and underrepresentation across fields - so for example, looking at the number of women in English PhD programs compared to Engineering. This might be a useful lens through which to frame this part of your project.

    You also might be able to find a substantial amount of information by looking at EU-level analyses. For example, at the EU level, there have been at least 3 recent reports on the status of women in STEM fields (2003, 2006, 2009) (link to 2009 report:

    Also, I just found a bunch of info by entering "malta, status of women" into google. For example, did you know that prior to 1981, women in Malta serving in civil service had to resign once they married? (Source: Helsinki Group on women and science May 2001; Maltese national report by Irene Sciriha, Faculty of Science University of Malta)

    If you haven't already, you may also wish to look at the National Council of Women in Malta: . It would also be useful to get this report - "National Report on Women in Malta", Commission for the Advancement of Women, Malta, 1994, (67 pages) - which was created prior to the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing.

    It also looks like the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) has some Malta-specific reports, and that migrants are experiencing the brunt of racism in contemporary Malta (from ENAR's perspective). One of ENAR's recent Malta reports also provides these links:

    National Commission for the Promotion of Equality:
    Centre for Faith and Justice:
    Jesuit Refugee Service – Malta:
    Integra Foundation:
    Third World Group:
    Moviment Graffiti:
    Amnesty International – Malta Group:
    Malta Gay Rights Movement:


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