- Helen Andrade
STEM Field Statistics Are Encouraging for Women
For years it has been common knowledge that men have dominated the math and science fields. In the 1900s, women were behind due to discrimination, but through legal, academic, and corporate measures the gender gap has been reduced drastically. But a gap still exists. Results from several years of standardized tests in math and science indicate that male and female students have about the same academic potential in all STEM fields, with the exception of engineering and computer science. However, as a percentage of total jobs in computer science and mathematics, women’s participation has dropped while men’s participation has risen.
The number of women in science and math has increased in recent decades. According to an article from Live Science in 2003, women account for 30 percent of doctorate degrees in science. The National Science Foundation adds that 9 percent of those are awarded in engineering.
However, a recent study in the October issue of Psychological Science by Stanford University psychologist Mary Murphy brings a new feature of gender bias to light: women are less likely to participate in science and engineering settings, fields in which they are outnumbered by men.
These barriers have caused women to feel like they can not get involved in STEM fields. Girls have been taught, directly and indirectly, to steer clear of fields of study and jobs typically pursued by men. Women have also taken on the family care-taking aspect in life. So many women have chosen to stay at home, since their responsibilities make it almost impossible to meet the hours of a job.
In order for more women to be in these fields, more needs to be done to support the growth of women in various STEM fields. This begins with helping women understand that they are just as capable as men of flourishing in STEM fields.
At the Bipartisan Feminist Project, we seek to understand the causes of disparities between women and men in society. This helps us engage in reasonable discussions about feminism in which all can share their beliefs.