In an article recently written by Katherine Mangan for The Chronicle for Higher Education, shows that there continues to persist gender inequity in STEM fields in spite of the number of women pursuing graduate and doctoral degrees. Here are some of the numbers that her research has come up with:
* women received 80% of undergraduate degrees in education
* women earned 77% of master’s degrees in education
* women received 67% of doctoral degrees in education
In the field of engineering, women received
*18% of undergraduate degrees
*22% of master’s degrees
*23% of doctoral degrees
Female intensive fields continue to be the health professions, teaching, psychology, English, and foreign languages.
The fields that men monopolize include STEM fields, philosophy and religion.
Why does this disparity persist today, even after the awareness that has been brought to light on the matter and the outreach efforts on behalf of these fields as they attempt to include women?
Kristen Renwick Monroe is a political science professor at UC Irvine and is writing a book about gender inequality in academe. Her work focuses on determining the reasons for this inequality, and her conclusions are grounded in the fact that women continue to struggle with “Integrating [their] work and personal lives [which] can be difficult since women still tend to bear the primary responsibility for housework, as well as for the care of children.” Apparently, the answer to this problem is not situated in science, but rather, in the fact that women are expected to do it all while men shun their responsibilities within the home.
In terms of the public realm, Monroe goes so far as to say that administration continues to believe that female professors in academe are distracted by their responsibility as parents in ways that male professors are not; as a result, the way they are perceived is limited and limiting.
In regards to female students, they do not have the same number of female mentors that male students acquire from their male professor. In current research, it has been determined that in order for female students to thrive and continue their work in STEM fields, they need strong mentors — preferably female ones — who can teach them the ropes of their discipline but also how to maneuver around obstacles they all experience such as sexism.
This article is good because it shows the limited scope of women’s experiences in academe and that cultural stereotypes continue to thrive.
- Advocate for women in STEM disciplines speaks on today’s barriers to ‘breaking into the lab’ (news.uchicago.edu)
- Time to [Wo]man Up: Get Girls Excited About Science & Technology (blogs.technet.com)