Half of all science and engineering degrees are earned by women. Does this signal gender equality in STEM? Many experts and advocates say it doesn't. While the critical mass of women in biosciences and social sciences remain high – between 49% and 58% - the proportion of female students who earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering (20%) is bleak. It's an even lower percentage of women in computer science, according to a National Science Foundation report from 2015.
In February 2015, the Brookings Institution released the report, "America's Advanced Industries: What they are, where they are, and why they matter." The authors of the report identified 50 industries that constitute the advanced industries sector, of which 35 are related to manufacturing, 12 to services and three to energy. The report states, "As of 2013, the nation’s 50 advanced industries…employed 12.3 million U.S. workers. That amounts to about 9% of total U.S. employment.
According to the U.S. government's Student and Exchange Visitor Program, the total number of active female international students studying STEM in the U.S. increased more than 68 percent from 76,638 students in 2010 to 128,807 in 2015, with the largest increase at the master's degree level. The majority of those students were from India and China.
The study says that women are one and a half times more likely to drop out of calculus than men. The study, which was published Wednesday in PLOS ONE, a journal published by the Public Library of Science, found that while both men and women experience a loss of confidence in their math skills at a similar rate in Calculus I, the problem is that women have a lower confidence rate to begin with.
Women are fleeing the lab in larger numbers than men. Despite years of effort to encourage female students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math - so called STEM fields - a new study by researchers at the University of Missouri finds that gender is a primary indicator in dropout rates for college programs.
Implicit biases -- such as girls aren't as good as boys in science and math -- have hampered advancements in work force diversity for decades. But what does it mean when girls themselves perpetuate the damaging erroneous stereotype? What can be done to entice girls to pursue classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) before they lose interest?
...it’s no secret that women who work in STEM fields face significant challenges and are severely under-represented, particularly in senior leadership roles. This lack of representation will have negative repercussions for the industry's long-term growth. Research shows that diversity leads to increased innovation and group performance, which are crucial to the success of STEM industries, whether they are creating life-saving medical devices or finding new ways to harness renewable energy.
During a panel discussion at the New America Foundation, Melissa Moritz, deputy director of STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- at the Education Department, noted the ethnic and gender imbalances in computer science education. Still a rarity at schools across the country, computer science classes are disproportionately unavailable to low-income students, according to Moritz, who argued that biases -- conscious or unconscious -- deter many minority and female students from pursuing the field that is accounting for more wage growth in the U.S.
Why do so few women sign up for careers in science, technology, engineering and math? Research suggests having few women in college in these fields and in technology companies creates a vicious cycle.
The Department of Education on Wednesday released a Dear Colleague letter warning high schools and colleges that women must have equal access to career and technical education programs in order to fill jobs that are currently in high demand.