Females Interest in STEM Decreasing

by Wensi Wu

In a survey done by Junior Achievement in 2019, there was a decrease in teenage girls’ interest in STEM from 11% to 9%. On the contrary, there was an increase in boys’ interest in STEM that went from 24% to 27%1. In a study conducted in 2009, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found out that young girls lost interest in STEM due to the lack of role models in STEM1, specifically in engineering and computer science.

There has been a decrease of women in computer science since 19912. In 2014, a study was conducted that proved men and women were twice as likely to hire a man for a job that required math2. Five biased reasons are causing a decrease in women in STEM2. The first reason is that women have to prove themselves. About 66% of 557 (367) female scientists in America said they have to prove themselves multiple times because people don’t believe in their work and capabilities2. Specifically, Black women have to deal with this issue more than any other race2. The second reason is that women are portrayed as feminine, but they are required to show masculine traits to stand up for themselves in STEM fields2. About 34.1% of women said they were pressured to play a feminine role, and this occurs the most with Asian Americans2. However, there is a stereotype that Black and Latina women will be angry for things they’re restricted to do2. The third reason is maternity; apparently, women are only able to care about their children or their career, but not both. About 66% of women, regardless of race or ethnic groups, felt this way2. The fourth reason is simply discrimination against women. In STEM fields, men make up the majority, but 75% of women in the workplace support each other2. However, 20% of scientists feel like they have to fight for the “woman’s spot” in the field2. The fifth reason is isolation. People seem to exclude women, and this usually occurs the most towards Black and Latina women2. About 48% of Black women and 47% of Latinas women were mistaken as administrative or custodial staff instead of being a scientist2.

There is a decrease of women in STEM because of the lack of encouragement from society supporting women. It’s not only a struggle to be a woman in STEM, but the race can cause more of a battle to be seen as a professional in STEM fields. There is a lack of role models to show girls that women can be in STEM too. Women should not be feeling that there is limited space at work for women but should help support each other and work together. More women in STEM should show girls that even in a field with men dominance, they can still do the same thing as men.

Work Cited

[1] Rose, A. (2019, June 03). Female interest in STEM education and careers decreasing. Center For Digital Education. https://www.govtech.com/education/Female-Interest-in-STEM-Education-and-Careers-Decreasing.html

[2] Williams, J. C. (2015, March 24). The 5 biases pushing women out of STEM. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2015/03/the-5-biases-pushing-women-out-of-stem

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