Help More Women, and More Female Veterans, Earn STEM Degrees
The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) released a report yesterday showing that women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs, and that "the share of women pursuing degrees in STEM fields at community colleges is significantly declining."
According to the report, women earned about 34 percent of community college STEM degress in 1997, but by 2007 that number had declined to about 28. The report also found that the share of women receiving short- and medium-term certificates in STEM fields shrunk by almost half between 2000 and 2009. As PolicyShop has reported before, the fact that women make up about half of the workforce but hold only 24 percent of U.S. jobs in technical fields is no accident. One of the main causes is lack of support and mentoring for girls to overcome formidable social obstacles to science careers rather than a question of ability or interest.
As the IWPR report states, there are multiple negative outcomes for not tapping into women as part of the scientific talent pool. One is that we are losing a large amount of technical talent when we can least afford it. Secondly, there is an economic loss as women miss out on the higher salaries and wider range of employment opportunities available in STEM fields.