Analysis helps explain persistent male/female gap in hard sciences
The much-discussed gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) can be explained in part by differences in individual students' comparative academic strengths, a gap which only grows as societies become more gender egalitarian, a recently released study shows.
The gender gap in STEM is a persistent quandary for policy makers. Recent data from the Economic and Statistics Administration found that women made up more than half of college-educated workers but only 25 percent of college-educated STEM workers, and that while nearly as many women hold undergraduate degrees as men, women make up only 30 percent of STEM degree holders and are a disproportionately low share of degree holders across all STEM fields.
"Despite considerable efforts toward understanding and changing this pattern, the sex difference in STEM engagement has remained stable for decades," the study's authors write. "The stability of these differences and the failure of current approaches to change them calls for a new perspective on the issue."