As a white man who studied chemistry at school then went to university to continue studying it, I never had the issue of not seeing myself reflected in the textbooks and learning materials I used over the years. While these days there’s a lot more awareness of the representation issues that plague the sciences, school textbooks still haven’t quite caught up with these conversations.
To evidence this, a recent study
looking at representations of women and men in A Level Chemistry (or equivalent) textbooks found them lacking in references to women in science, and a tendency to prioritise showing men in scientific roles.
Curricula often specify few (if any) names of scientists that students should recall, and to my mind that’s how it should be. I don’t think the answer to the representation issue is getting students to rote learn a list of names. But given that curricula focus on content rather than people, this study’s suggestion that “teachers may opt to supplement resources selected with materials that offer a wider representation” seems perfectly implementable – and a further reason to look further afield for teaching resources than the oft-derided specification-specific textbooks.