Women are nominated for research prizes just as frequently as men, however unconscious bias and men running prize panels seems to be swaying award outcomes, suggests the study in the current Social Studies of Science journal.
Varying widely by discipline, women receiveabout 40% of all doctoratesin science (around 70% of psychology degrees but less in other fields) and engineering (about 10%), and have long suffered from lower odds of becoming full professors or attaining other markers of prestige in those fields.
"A large body of social science research finds that work done by women is perceived as less important or valuable that that done by men," begins the study led by sociologist Anne Lincoln of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In their research, the study authors looked at award patterns from 13 scientific and medical societies from 1991 (206 awards) to 2010 (296 awards).
Two University of Kansas professors have published a study showing that ability alone simply isn’t enough for women to excel in the STEM fields, and that how far women are from privilege makes a much bigger difference.
Barbara Kerr, Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Counseling Psychology and Research in Education; and Karen Multon, professor and chair of psychology and research in education, published the study in the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. The study examines “distance from privilege,” or the idea that how far young women perceives themselves from ideal socioeconomic, geographic, educational and various other variables can determine how likely they can be to persist in education and careers in the STEM fields. Two methods for measuring where women view themselves in relation to ideal places of power and privilege were also developed.
“We’re trying to understand how to keep young women in college in STEM,” Kerr said. “Once they are in the field, how do we keep them there? We find over and over that women who do persist have had to overcome many barriers.”
The researchers have found that ability alone is not enough to predict whether a young woman will succeed in STEM. It is an important variable, Kerr said, but research should also consider a number of other social variables and take a subjective look at what may stand in the way of success. Developing a tool that can accurately measure distance from privilege can greatly benefit gender equity work and help develop a model for identifying women with the potential to persist in the field.
In the next five years, STEM jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as jobs in all other fields according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. While all jobs are expected to grow by 10.4 percent, STEM jobs are expected to increase by 21.4 percent. Similarly, 80 percent of jobs in the next decade will require technical skills.
By this measure, future STEM jobs represent a huge opportunity to today's students. But to put these numbers into perspective, of the 3.8 million ninth graders in the U.S., only 233,000 end up choosing a STEM degree in college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This means only 6 percent of ninth graders will become STEM graduates. And of these graduates, women will be even more underrepresented in most STEM fields.
These are alarming statistics. How do we get more young boys and girls to be interested in STEM-related fields? It isn't an easy task. Schools do not always adequately prepare students for these rigorous subjects, and college programs are designed to weed out the less persistent. Nationally, only 41 percent of initial White and Asian American STEM majors who begin a degree in STEM-related fields complete their degree in less than six years.
In addition, societal pressures continue to loom over girls who might otherwise consider the STEM fields. A couple of years ago, I met amazing parents, both of whom had a background in engineering and hoped their 10 year-old daughter would follow in their footsteps. They encouraged her to take an after school science/robotics program. When she got there, she found she was outnumbered 6:1 by boys in the class. As the only girl, she came home crying much of the time because she was teased and told that geeky girls are not welcome in the boys' club. Ironically, by the time young adults are entering college programs in STEM fields, many complain about the lack of gender diversity.
Overall, women in these fields, collectively known as STEM, for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, are staying in these positions at the same rate as men, according to work done by Deborah Kaminski of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Cheryl Geisler of Simon Fraser University.
"This is really good news, it means if we hire them we are going to be able to keep them," Kaminski said in a podcast released by the journal Science, in which the study appears. The two also found that men and women receive promotions at about the same times.
In these fields overall, half of faculty will have departed within 10.9 years of their careers. One discipline bucks the overall trend, however. In mathematics, half of women leave by 4.45 years, and half of male faculty by 7.33 years into their careers, the study found. (A study released this week found that due to the demands of a professorship, many women choose motherhood over academics in math and science fields.)
Men file far more patents than women do, but women are securing an increasing number of patents and trademarks, according to a recent study by the National Women’s Business Council, a government advisory panel.
In 2010, 22,984 patents were granted to women, a 35 percent jump over the previous year. The increase for men was only 28 percent.
“Overall, women held 18 percent of all patents granted in 2010, compared to the 14 percent they had a decade earlier. In 1990, they earned only 9 percent,” the study found.
Interestingly, the NWBC paper found that the highest rate of increase in the grant of patents to women was in the 1986-1993 period, and the slowest rate was in the 1999-2006 period, during the dot-com bubble.
The picture for trademarks was even better. Women nearly doubled their share of trademarks within a 30-year span.
This study examines how access to and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are transforming the economic opportunities available to poor and low-income women in India by promoting their entrepreneurial activity. What types of initiatives support small and medium enterprises for women, and through which ICTs? What factors shape a positive connection between ICTs and women’s business success? What barriers have been lifted and what opportunities realized? What types of impact are ICT-based initiatives having on women, their businesses and beyond? What promising pathways are being shaped, and what channels have yet to be explored?
The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology released a new report that outlines four key areas where companies should focus their recruitment efforts to increase access to a range of technical talent available in a highly competitive environment. Solutions to Recruit Technical Women is the first in a series of reports offering solutions companies can employ to improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of technical women.
Women are shunning academic careers in math-intensive fields because the lifestyle is incompatible with motherhood, researchers at Cornell University found in a study to be published next month in American Scientist Magazine.
Universities have long been criticized for hiring and evaluation policies that discriminate against women, but the findings of this new study point to the female biological clock as a main reason why so few women end up as professors in fields such as math, engineering, physics and computer science.
A woman who wants a family looks at the rigorous path to a tenured position and considers how old she will be before she can start a family and how little time she will have to raise her children. Many of those women opt for a more flexible career.
"Universities have been largely inflexible about anything other than the standard time table, which is you kill yourself for years and only then would you consider getting pregnant," said Wendy Williams, a human development professor at Cornell who co-authored the study with her husband, Stephen Ceci.
Williams and Ceci analyzed data about the academic careers of men and women with and without children. Before women became mothers, they had careers equivalent to or more successful than their male peers. But once children entered the equation, the dynamic changed.
Women in other academic fields such as the humanities and social sciences face similar hurdles and often leave academia as well. But because there are so many women in those Ph.D. programs, enough ultimately stay to amount to a critical mass of female professors.
In math-heavy fields, however, women make up a tiny minority of the graduate students. So when the rare few who make it through a Ph.D. program leave because universities are insensitive to their needs as mothers, the net result is virtually no women represented on faculty rosters, the study said.
Generation STEM is national research report investigating girls' perceptions, attitudes, and interests in the subjects and general field of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) from the voices of girls themselves. The report consists of a literature review, as well as qualitative (focus group) and quantitative (survey) research with 1,000 girls across the country. The study finds that girls are interested in STEM and aspire to STEM careers, but need further exposure and education about what STEM careers can offer, and how STEM can help girls make a difference in the world.