News

What keeps girls from pursuing STEM fields

By Rachel E. Scherr
September 23rd, 2014

The STEM gender gap continues to prove challenging

STEM-fieldsEvery student who has returned to school this fall should have the opportunity to prepare for the rapidly growing job opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math–also known as the STEM fields.

But many students, especially women and underrepresented minorities, needlessly opt out–or are shut out–of discovering a passion or talent for one of these subjects.

Physics is among the least diverse of the sciences, with only 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees going to women and fewer than 10 percent to underrepresented minorities. The field needs to catch up to biology and chemistry, which have almost closed the gender gap at the undergraduate level.

(Next page: How should STEM education change?)