The STEM Gender Gap

September 7, 2018 • Volume 28, Issue 31
Can science and tech attract more women?
By Stephen Ornes


Danielle Richey, a Lockheed Martin software engineer (Cover: Getty Images/The Denver Post/Andy Cross)
Danielle Richey, a Lockheed Martin software engineer, helps middle school student Kayla Burby design a splashdown recovery system for the Orion spacecraft that Lockheed is helping to build for NASA. The two teamed up at the Girls Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (GESTEM) event hosted by the Society of Women Engineers in Denver in 2016. Researchers say such hands-on programs could help reduce the gender gap in STEM fields. (Cover: Getty Images/The Denver Post/Andy Cross)

Women lag far behind men as a share of the workforce in most science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions, even as demand for those skills increases in order to help the United States remain globally competitive. Some women abandon STEM careers because of sexual harassment or other forms of gender discrimination, and some have sued employers over such conduct. In other cases, girls or young women face obstacles in their schooling that discourage them from pursuing STEM careers. Those obstacles, experts say, include cultural biases that teach girls they are less skilled than boys in math and science, despite research findings to the contrary. Advocates urge stronger efforts by schools and tech companies to hire and retain women in STEM jobs and to address the issues that can cause them to leave the field. But some analysts attribute at least some of the gender gap to educational or career choices made by women themselves.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 11, 2022  Cultural Appropriation
Jan. 22, 2021  Corporate D&I
Oct. 30, 2020  Systemic Racism
Oct. 16, 2020  Monument Protests
Oct. 09, 2020  Police Under Scrutiny Updated
Aug. 23, 2019  Reparations for Slavery
Sep. 07, 2018  The STEM Gender Gap
Jan. 19, 2018  Future of Puerto Rico
Nov. 17, 2017  Affirmative Action and College Admissions
Jul. 28, 2017  Muslims in America
Mar. 10, 2017  Charter Schools
Sep. 23, 2016  Women in Leadership
Aug. 05, 2016  Diversity in Hollywood
May 13, 2016  Women in Combat
Jan. 08, 2016  Racial Conflict
Dec. 11, 2015  Transgender Rights
May 01, 2015  Community Colleges
Apr. 24, 2015  Native American Youths
Apr. 03, 2015  Latino Voters
Dec. 12, 2014  Police Tactics
Sep. 14, 2007  Racial Diversity in Public Schools Updated
Dec. 12, 2003  Black Colleges
Oct. 10, 1997  Diversity in the Workplace
Jan. 20, 1971  Ethnic America
College Financing and Funding
Computers and the Internet
Data and Statistics
Diversity Issues
Early Childhood Education
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Education Standards and Testing
Equal Employment Opportunity & Discrimination
Science and Politics
Space Sciences and Exploration
Women in the Workplace