Politics a Chilly Environment for Undergraduate Women in Norway

Cissy Ballen, Dahsol Lee, Lise Rakner, Sehoya H Cotner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Gender differences in academic performance and attitudes are widespread in male-stereotyped disciplines but rarely are studied in the social sciences. To assess the extent that gender influences the behavior of undergraduate women in political science, participation was analyzed in a large (N = 130) introductory comparative-politics class at the University of Bergen- A large public university in Norway. In the 2016 fall semester, observers documented classroom behaviors of men and women using a protocol that characterizes types of in-class participation. Findings showed that women participate less than expected given their observed numbers in the classroom. After the semester ended, we provided an opportunity for students to describe why they chose to participate and whether they felt that barriers existed in the classroom that prevented them from expressing their opinions. This article characterizes those responses and presents the first study to draw conclusions about the gendered educational experience in political science by integrating these qualitative and quantitative results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-658
Number of pages6
JournalPS - Political Science and Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was approved by NSD Prosjektnr 46727 and funded by the Centre of Excellence in Biology Education (bioCEED) at the University of Bergen and the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota. Cissy Ballen was supported by a Research Council of Norway Mobility Grant (Proposal No. 261529) awarded to Sehoya Cotner.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Political Science Association.

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