Science & Education

, Volume 17, Issue 10, pp 1081–1088 | Cite as

Problems with Feminist Standpoint Theory in Science Education



Feminist standpoint theory has important implications for science education. The paper focuses on difficulties in standpoint theory, mostly regarding the assumptions that different social positions produce different types of knowledge, and that epistemic advantages that women might enjoy are always effective and significant. I conclude that the difficulties in standpoint theory render it too problematic to accept. Various implications for science education are indicated: we should return to the kind of science education that instructs students to examine whether arguments, experiments, etc. are successful, rather than ask who presented them; when considering researchers and students for science education programs we should examine their scholarly achievements, rather than the group to which they belong; women should not be discouraged from engaging in “mainstream” science research and education (or other spheres of knowledge considered as “men’s topics”) and men should not be discouraged from engaging in what are considered “women’s topics” in science (or outside it); we should not assume that there are different types of science for women and for men, nor different ways for women and men to study science or conduct scientific research.


Social Position Affirmative Action Social Circumstance Situate Knowledge Oppressed Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author thanks the guest editor, Cassandra Pinnick, for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


  1. Hallberg M (1989) Feminist epistemology: an impossible project? Radic Philos 53:3–7Google Scholar
  2. Harding S (1991) Whose science? Whose knowledge? Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  3. Landau I (2006) Is philosophy androcentric? Pennsylvania State University Press, College ParkGoogle Scholar
  4. Macdonald AA (2002) Feminist pedagogy and the appeal to epistemic privilege. In: Macdonald AA, Sánchez-Casal S (eds) Twenty first century feminist classrooms: pedagogies of identity and difference. Palgrave, New York, pp 111–133Google Scholar
  5. Thayer-Bacon B (2003) Pragmatism and feminism as qualified relativism. Stud Philos Educ 22:417–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyHaifa UniversityHaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations