Why aren’t there more women in science and engineering?

More women are entering into STEM careers, but they're still the minority.

As demands for advances in the fields of engineering and science grow, so does women’s interest in joining those fields. Gender roles don’t have as much of an impact in modern day classrooms as they used to. The amount of men in fields traditionally dominated by women, like nursing, has jumped in recent years.  Though women are still the minority in fields traditionally dominated by men, like science and engineering, they are on their way to taking the reins.   

According to the National Science Foundation, the amount of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, has grown significantly since the 1970’s.  Just under 78,000 women were enrolled as graduate students in science and engineering in 1977. Compared with nearly 232,000 in 2008, it’s obvious that women are finding a place for themselves on those career paths.

Still, men overwhelmingly dominate the fields. In a press release from the Association for Women in Science, Executive Director Janet Bandows Koster says, “Our nation must acknowledge that while women make up almost half of the U.S. workforce, they continue to be underrepresented in STEM professions, particularly in the higher academic faculty ranks and leadership positions.”

So what is preventing women from fully taking the field by storm? It could be a lack of equality in the workplace.

“In order to alleviate this problem, action must be taken at the federal and institutional level to alleviate the challenges impeding women’s access to these positions, including gender biases in the workplace and outmoded institutional practices,” says Koster.

It could also be the fact that young girls have traditionally been taught that math and science are for boys, while they should focus more on literature and writing.

Organizations like AWIS and the Society of Women Engineers work to promote the educational advancement of girls and women in those fields, and they’re making their mark. Carol Greider, an AWIS member, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase. In other words, she’s one smart lady who is shining star in the world of science, but she is also a rarity. That’s why organizations like AWIS regularly appeal the Congress in an effort to breakdown barriers that women in STEM professions face in the workplace.

Many women in STEM professions say more women need to pursue careers in the fields. History is probably a good indicator that it’s just a matter of time.  After all, it wasn’t long ago that you wouldn’t see a woman’s name on a ballot for a major election, or as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It might not be long before they become front and center in the world of math and science, too.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

10 green ideas for New York City this…

This Earth Day, pundits share their ideas to better green New York City.

Local

Carriage horse activists picket Liam Neeson's UWS home

Several dozen picketers lined the sidewalk outside of Liam Neeson's Upper West Side apartment building on Saturday to protest the actor's support of the New…

Local

Former cop shoots wife in front of children…

Former cop Kevin Canty, 43, was arrested over the weekend after police say he shot and killed his wife in their Ozone Park home.

Local

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Books

Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.