Why are there so few women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields?

Source: AAUW

Apr 23, 2010

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.


Catherine Hill is the director of research at AAUW, where she focuses on higher education and women's economic security. Prior to her work at AAUW, she was a researcher at the Institute for Women's Policy Research and an assistant professor at the University of Virginia. She has bachelor's and master's degrees from Cornell University and a doctorate in public policy from Rutgers University.

Christianne Corbett is a research associate at AAUW and co-author of Where the Girls Are: The Facts About Gender Equity in Education (2008). Before coming to AAUW, she worked as a legislative fellow in the office of Rep. Carolyn Maloney and as a mechanical design engineer in the aerospace industry. She holds a master's degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and bachelor's degrees in aerospace engineering and government from the University of Notte Dame. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana from 1992 to 1994, she taught math and science to secondary school students.

Andresse St. Rose is a research associate at AAUW, where she focuses on gender equity in education and the workplace. Before joining the AAUW staff, she worked as an academic counselor at Northeastem University in Boston and taught high school math and biology at the International School of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. She is a co-author of Where the Girls Are: The Facts About Gender Equity in Education (2008). She has a doctoral degree in education policy from George Washington University, a master's degree in higher education administration from Boston College, and a bachelor's degree in biology from Hamilton College.