Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion of women taking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a new study has found. Policymakers could use the findings to reconsider initiatives to increase women's participation in STEM, say the researchers.
The research found that 45% of women working in STEM jobs were dissatisfied with their current career choice. They also don't expect to continue in STEM jobs for their entire career. As for the factors that discourage them to continue in the job, 46% cited the need to upskill constantly. As much as 39% of respondents were daunted by the long hours, while 36% pointed to the male-dominated office environment.
In their study of gender disparities in education and employment, Ana Maria Munoz-Boudet and Ana Revenga, two experts from the World Bank, found that gender gaps in STEM fields are common around the world. According to the authors, in 2013 only four countries in Europe produced a pool of STEM graduates that were at least 15 percent female.
How has Japan's economy remained resilient in the face of its demographic challenges? Sunday offers the answer: It's the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Both aspects of what the world is celebrating today — women and science — are at play in Japan's economic resilience.
Those conclusions, from a study released Monday at the World Economic Forum, show about 57 percent of the 1.4 million U.S. jobs to be disrupted by technology between now and 2026 are held by women. With proper retraining, most of the workers would find new, higher-paying jobs. Without it, very few have opportunities, but women fare the worst, according to the study, conducted in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group. Making the transition will be expensive and difficult, the authors said.
When it comes to diversity in tech, the question that has haunted the industry for the past several years is ‘are we doing enough?’ “I don't know if I'll ever be able to say we're doing enough because I don't think I'll be able to say that until we're at 50%,” confesses McAfee Chief HR Officer Chatelle Lynch, “but we're sure doing everything I know how right now.”
Women face at least two ongoing educational obstacles. First, there is substantial evidence that girls continue to get streamed out of STEM programs, if not in middle or high school, at least by the time they arrive in university. Indeed, most computer science and engineering programs have yet to tip the 20% mark when it comes to graduating women.
In analyzing data from the Texas Education Research Center, SWE researchers found that less than 4 percent of female students chose engineering or computer science (ECS) majors compared to nearly 20 percent of men across two- and four-year institutions in the state. Evidence of a slight decrease in ECS major declarations among women comes despite more women than men enrolling in college each year.
More than three-quarters of women who work in STEM fields at male-dominated workplaces report experiencing at least one type of gender discrimination, ranging from being turned down for a job to making less than a man for the same work. Reports of discrimination are highest among women with advanced degrees and those who work with computers.
The lack of women in science and innovation fields is not simply a question of fairness or equality; it suggests that the economy is missing out on important potential for productivity growth. The fact that just 16 percent of patents are granted to women demonstrates in some ways how we may be leaving future Grace Hoppers out of the world of innovation and hence missing their insights and inventions.