Women in STEM

WHAT IT IS

  • Women make up about two-thirds of college students yet are underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations pay above average and are growing faster than other industries.
  • There has been more attention on diversifying the workplace for STEM careers in order to better reflect society and keep our industries competitive and fair.

WHY IT MATTERS

The debate about women’s rights has grown even stronger following the presidential election. Advocates aspire to close the gender gap in these fields as well as the gender pay gap. According to recent data, 26 of the top 30 highest paying careers are dominated by men.

  • GIRLS RULE – “More Women in STEM”

    • Society is biased: Several studies have shown that female doctoral students had to publish more than men to be viewed as effective.
    • Stereotypes to blame: Proponents of programs aimed at encouraging women in STEM careers believe negative stereotypes about female mathematical abilities are holding the gender back.
    • Diversity is key: Some say diversifying our technology and science fields will actually give society an advantage.
  • STATUS QUO – “Things Are Fine”

    • Women’s right to choose: Some argue women naturally choose to work in female-oriented careers like teaching.
    • Focus on the work: Emphasis should be placed on advancing science, not advancing a specific gender to do the science.
    • Family-first: Less demanding jobs are better suited to women who often have more responsibilities for their families.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Are programs targeted to encourage females to pursue STEM careers fair to male students?
  • Are women really just choosing to go with their passions, which may not be STEM fields?
  • Should the gender gap be tackled before the STEM career gap?