In today’s society, there is a gender gap in many different industries and fields. One of the most notable gaps is the one that exists in the STEM field-science, technology, engineering and math. Only 28% of women work in these fields, confirming that many talented and capable women are not getting the opportunity to pursue careers in these important industries. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of the gender gap in STEM and discuss ways to close it.
What is the Gender Gap?
The gender gap in STEM is the imbalance of male to female students in STEM programs compared to other college degree programs. According to research, women are significantly less likely than men to earn STEM degrees or work in the field. STEM occupations are even less likely to be chosen by women of color. This causes a growing gender gap of fewer women-to-men ratio in STEM study programs and careers.
Status of Gender Gap in STEM
- According to the data from the American Physical Society, in 2017, women received 21% of bachelor’s degrees in physics. Similarly, data from the American Chemical Society shows that only 33 percent of chemistry degrees were earned by women in 2017. This is compared to other college degree programs, where more than half of the students are female.
- A study by the National Science Board shows that only about 19% of computer and information science students are female, compared to 21% of engineering majors.
- Though nearly 80%of the health care workforce are women, they make up about 21% of health executives and board members and only about a third of women are doctors.
- Only 24% of women who majored in engineering work in the engineering field, compared to 38% of women who majored in computers.
- In 2019, only 13% of working engineers were women, a small improvement from 8.6% in 1993.
- The percentage of women in tech was higher in the 1980s than today. Only 23% of Apple’s tech jobs and 32% of the company’s workforce are held by women. Similar figures apply to Google, where women hold 31% of the workforce and 21% of the tech occupations. Microsoft is comparable, with 27% of the workforce and 20% of tech jobs held by women.
- Additionally, women leave the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men.
- Interestingly, most tech startups have no women on their leadership teams.
- Women typically make less money than males in STEM fields. The median income for women working in STEM fields is $66,200, which is roughly 74% of the $90,000 median income for men in the same fields. From 72% in 2016, the gender wage gap in STEM jobs has decreased.
Why Is There A STEM Gender Gap in College Programs and Careers?
Several factors contribute to the lack of women in STEM fields.;
- There is an ingrained societal stereotype that boys and men are simply “better” at math and science and that STEM is a male-dominated field. This limited belief discourages many girls and young women from considering a STEM career.
- In addition, domestic pressures such as early marriage and child pregnancy can prevent girls from completing their education and limit their career options.
- There is a lack of female role models in STEM fields, making it difficult for women to envision themselves in these careers.
While the women’s STEM challenges are significant, it’s important to remember that anyone can succeed in these fields with dedication and hard work. With more women choosing to pursue careers in STEM, we can eventually close the gender gap.
How To Solve the Gender Gap In STEM
- There should be more targeted and early interventions to demystify STEM and ignite interest in girls. Scholarships for girls and women pursuing STEM programs should be introduced, and opportunities such as online education and nano courses should be made more accessible to young women.
- Training for teachers on gender-sensitive instruction and how to engage girls in STEM must also be increased to make a real difference. Only by working on multiple levels will the gender gap in STEM begin to close.
- In the home, parents should remind their children that they can grow up to do anything they want. They should also provide a wide range of opportunities for children to explore their interests, including STEM-related ones.
- Colleges should support the inclusion of women in STEM fields by doing everything possible to prevent discrimination and sexism against female students and improve retention rates.
- In the workplace, employers must work to identify and address discrimination in their hiring practices to produce a diverse workplace that promotes greater employee happiness and productivity. Additionally, it’s important to train managers on inclusiveness and gender sensitivity.
- Another way to create a more conducive environment for women is to start is by encouraging open conversation about the issue. This will create a better understand what needs to change in the workplace.
- Additionally, companies can plan outings and social events that appeal to a wider range of interests. By taking these steps, we can create a more inclusive environment while lessening the gender gap in STEM.
Though many initiatives are in place to help close the gender gap in STEM, more work must be done on all fronts. We must all work diligently to attract and keep female students by making computer science courses more interesting and relevant. Employers must identify and address discrimination in their hiring practices, creating a diverse workplace that promotes greater happiness and productivity among employees. Society as a whole must recognize the importance of women pursuing careers in STEM fields.
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