Giving Compass' Take:

• Chris McKenna breaks down the statistics of women and girls in science, revealing a concerning trend of underrepresentation in STEM. 

• How can funders work to increase the number of women in STEM? What cultural changes are needed to make these changes possible?  

• Learn about efforts to advance women in STEM

The UN proclaimed February 11 the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This new designation was part of a larger effort toward closing gender gaps around the globe, as outlined in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Though more women are pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), it is clear that gender gaps in these fields—and harmful biases– persist today.

Below are a few salient points of commentary from Brookings experts on the state of gender equity in STEM fields, and the obstacles that women and girls still face.

  • U.S. women earn more college degrees than men overall but earn a minority of undergraduate degrees issued in stem fields. 
  • Stem field faculty remain predominately male. 
  • Women are underrepresented throughout the innovation pipeline. Women earn  57 percent of all four-year degrees, but only 35 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees. Following degree completion, they account for just 22 percent of the STEM workforce and are responsible for only 16 percent of granted patents.
  • Women remain underrepresented in the most common digital and tech jobs. Data show that women are now slightly ahead of men as a whole when it comes to developing the digital skills increasingly essential for employment, but remain grossly underrepresented in some of the most common tech jobs such as computer programming and information systems management.

Read the full article about advancing women and girls in science by Chris McKenna at Brookings.