Paper Title
African Women in Science: Cultural Influences on Motivation to Learn Science? Gender Differences in Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination of High School Students in Kenya

Science, technology and higher education have been cited as drivers of the 21st century economy. However, the African continent still lags behind in STEM education, scientific and technological development. For girls, they further lag behind in education achievement than boys do. Culturally, science is still seen as a field reserved for boys. Girls in Kenya and most of Africa are assigned home keeping and family care roles, which in turn affects their motivation and interest to learn science and pursuing science careers. Using a validated Science Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ II) with high school students in Kenya (N=600), this study shows significant gender differences in levels of both intrinsic motivation and self-determination to learn science. Male students exhibited higher levels of intrinsic motivation and self-determination compared to female students. Spreading cultural awareness on women’s abilities in science and professional STEM careers, students’ engagement in STEM inquiry based learning and increased visibility of female scientists as role models are recommended. Such efforts by the government, organizations and communities would help address the existing lower cultural expectations on science abilities for girls. Index terms- African Women, Intrinsic Motivation, Self-determination, Science Motivation