Women in STEM: a gender gap to innovation

The Department of Commerce draws (more!) attention to the dearth of women in STEM fields:

–Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.

–Women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs–considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.

–Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.

–Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation; they are more likely to work in education or healthcare.

–There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM.

I’m not sure we need more STEM workers period, women or otherwise. Nevertheless, I’m all for expanding opportunities for everyone to get disillusioned for themselves.

1 Comment

  1. Wow– a slightly cynical final sentence, huh?

    That aside, I’m not sure if the Department of Commerce contributed much (if anything) to this conversation. Specifically, while the factors they propose which contribute to these discrepancies may be true, there are a whole host of other reasons that have been put forth over the past decade (for example, the perception that the “culture” of STEM careers is not female-friendly)- the ones they list seem a decade old.

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