Women in STEM

Over the last 30 years, the number of women earning bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in math and science has increased significantly. This success has been largely due to the work of educational institutions, foundations, professional networks and research and advocacy organizations. Yet despite these efforts, a huge gap still exists between the numbers of women and men pursuing advanced studies and careers in science – especially in physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science and technology. Schools, colleges, the technology sector and businesses, as well as other sectors, need to intensify efforts to recruit and retain talented women in STEM fields. Advancement for women not only diversifies the workforce, but also provides gender balance in setting research goals, developing new product lines and enhancing innovative and strategic decision-making.

FAST FACT: Women Continue to Lag in STEM Fields

By Kyla Bender-Baird

According to the recently released American Association for University Women (AAUW) report, Why So Few?, women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields, especially at the upper levels. True, progress has been made, but women earn only 20% of bachelor's degrees in physics, engineering and computer science. So what's the hold up? AAUW's report delves into the social and environmental factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of women in STEM professions. As AAUW explains, "biological gender differences, yet to be well understood, may play a role, [but] are not the whole story." AAUW turns instead to societal beliefs, learning environments, and gender stereotypes to explain the persistant disparities. To learn more, click here.


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High Performance Entrepreneurs: Women in High Tech (Whitepaper)

New research shows what many have long suspected:  women entrepreneurs are poised to lead the next wave of growth in global technology ventures.  This report, prepared by Illuminate Ventures, documents the performance of women entrepreneurs in the past decade and the trends that are propelling them towards critical mass in the high-tech sector.

The bottom line:  More than ever before, women are influencing the face of business.  They are on the cusp of becoming a leading entrepreneurial force in technology.  As the global economy regenerates, new business models are needed to stimulate economic and job growth. Investors seeking to reinvigorate bottom-line performance and to favorably impact the entrepreneurial strength of our economy would be wise to support strategies that enable high-tech start-ups that are inclusive of women entrepreneurs.

URL: 
http://www.illuminate.com/whitepaper/

Women in IT: The Facts (2009)

The technology industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S.  The United States Department of Labor estimates that by 2016 there will be more than 1.5 million computer-related jobs available. Technology job opportunities are predicted to grow at a faster rate than jobs in all other professional sectors, or up to 25 percent over the next decade.

Highly-qualified women are well-positioned to move into these open jobs, yet the industry is failing to attract this talent. Furthermore, women already employed in the technology industry are leaving at staggering rates. Failing to capitalize on this talent threatens U.S. productivity, innovation, and competitiveness. To further strengthen the U.S. position as a technical leader we need to examine the reasons why the industry is not attracting more people with varied backgrounds and take action to stem the current tide.

URL: 
http://www.ncwit.org/pdf/NCWIT_WomenInITFacts_FINAL.pdf

The Recruitment, Retention & Advancement of Senior Technical Women

On October 1, 2009, 59 senior technology executives participated in the Anita Borg Institute’s 2009 Technical Executive Forum.

Even though an acknowledgement was made that the pipeline of technical women with technical degrees coming out of academia was insufficient, the group commented that the women who do graduate from these programs are not joining organizational cultures that are as receptive as they could be to gender diversity. This cultural disconnect was highlighted through the discussion of five main components.

1. The existing technical culture is biased against “those who don’t code”

2. The existing technical culture rewards “Hero” behavior and an “in your face” communication style

3. Risk-aversion is embedded in recruiting and advancement practices

4. The individual contributor track lacks a development culture

URL: 
http://anitaborg.org/files/breaking-barriers-to-cultural-change-in-corps.pdf

Senior Technical Women: A Profile of Success

A growing body of research has documented the underrepresentation of women in technical positions in US companies. Women hold 24 percent of technology jobs, yet represent half the total workforce. This underrepresentation persists even though the demand for technical talent remains high: computer occupations are expected to grow by 32 percent between 2008 and 2018.

In 2008, the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University conducted a survey of 1,795 technical men and women at seven high-technology companies in Silicon Valley. In this paper, we focus on senior technical women, who at only 4 percent of our sample represent a rarity in the technology industry.

URL: 
http://anitaborg.org/files/Senior-Technical-Women-A-Profile-of-Success.pdf

Women Making Gains on Faculty at Harvard

 

By TAMAR LEWIN

 

Published: March 12, 2010

 

 

Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

In an era when women are increasingly prominent in medicine, law and business, why are there so few women scientists and engineers? A new research report by AAUW presents compelling evidence that can help to explain this puzzle. Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics presents in-depth yet accessible profiles of eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers – including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities – that continue to block women’s participation and progress in science, technology, engineering, and math. The report also includes up to date statistics on girls' and women's achievement and participation in these areas and offers new ideas for what each of us can do to more fully open scientific and engineering fields to girls and women.

URL: 
http://www.aauw.org/resource/why-so-few-women-in-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics/

The Madame Curie Complex

Historian Julie Des Jardins talks about her upcoming book, The Madame Curie Complex. In this book, she discusses the hidden history of women in science.

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