Women in STEM

Our nation is losing women from the STEM pipeline early and at an alarming rate. This greatly limits career opportunities for women and leaves a gaping hole in the U.S. STEM talent pool.

Why it matters

Despite a focus in recent years to attract more diverse workers, there continues to be a shortage of qualified applicants for more than 1 million new jobs expected in the next 10 years.

Plus, the lack of diversity in STEM threatens innovation and advancements. That’s because a diversity of thought and experience drives innovation and supports out-of-the-box thinking on the challenges of today and tomorrow. (Source)

By getting involved with organizations like High-Tech High Heels, you can safeguard your future by helping to create a pipeline of female workers who may not otherwise pursue a degree in STEM.

Here are just a few reasons why young women and girls pull away from STEM as they get older.

Girls lose confidence in their ability to be successful in STEM at an early age.

  • Children’s attitudes about math begin to diverge as early as third grade. Many girls lose confidence in the subject area. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to say they are strong in math by second grade, before any performance differences are evident. (Source)
  • Girls self-select out of advanced math and science classes by age 15. (Source)
  • Studies show girls enjoy STEM activities, but 4 in 10 girls say they don’t get enough practical, hands-on experience. (Source)
  • By the time students reach college, women are significantly underrepresented in STEM majors. (Source)

Girls do not see themselves in STEM professions due to a lack of role models and stereotypes.

  • STEM fields are often viewed as masculine, and teachers and parents often underestimate girls’ math abilities starting as early as preschool. (Source)
  • Teachers, who are predominantly women, often have math anxiety they pass onto girls, and they often grade girls harder for the same work, and assume girls need to work harder to achieve the same level as boys. (Source)
  • In science education materials, 75% of adults depicted in a science profession were men, and only 25% were women. (Source)
  • When asked to draw a scientist, only 28% of kids (boys and girls) drew a female scientist. Boys almost always drew men, and girls were twice as likely to draw men as they were to draw women. (Source)
  • According to a recent Microsoft Study, girls cited a lack of female role models in STEM as a key reason they did not follow a career in the sector. (Source)
  • 60% of girls admitted they would feel more confident pursuing a career in STEM fields if they knew men and women were equally employed in those professions. (Source)

Despite making up nearly 50% of the total workforce, women make up only 28% of the STEM workforce.