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
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…