The Gender Pay Gap/Underrepresentation in STEM Careers

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The Gender Pay Gap/Underrepresentation in STEM Careers

Post by catherinecampbell on Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:49 pm

Today, in the digital/scientific era of discovery, women are increasingly becoming key members of the STEM workforce, thus going into a male dominated field and may even face the gender pay disparity of about 78 cents to every dollar that a man would make. Although both of these factors may vary from one profession to another, and even the place of work itself, it is still a great example of inequality that faces half of our population that contributes to our society and economy.

According to the Census Bureau's 2009 American Survey, women comprise 24% of all STEM workers. Although the statistics vary based on the particular STEM field, women overall have less representation than men, regardless of their education level (yet, as the level of education increases, the gap between men and women decreases slightly). In addition, women still hold fewer positions in upper-level jobs than their male counterparts. According to Nancy Jackson, the former President of the American Chemical Society and current Sandia Labs employee, "...there are 12 women out of 52 directors (those that hold the highest managerial position) But half of them are business or law directors. Only 6 directors are in R&D (research and development)," which can only allude to the rest of the corporations in the U.S. Because of the underrepresentation, women face stereotypes and discrimination that may shy young people away from STEM careers or maybe even cause some hit the glass ceiling while in one.  

In regards to compensation and wages, women on average earn more money in STEM fields than in non-STEM fields. However, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, there is a 14% wage gap between men and women (which is about $0.86 to the dollar) that work in STEM fields. With STEM fields being traditionally male-dominated professions, the jobs that pertain are considered valuable and well-paid, lead many women to face the hardship of not being as desirable in the workforce and receive lower offers and less compensation for the work that they do even if they have the same qualifications and education level as a man.

Although there are many different theories that contribute to the explanation as to why these differences exist (such as career choice, stereotypes, discrimination, etc.)  it is still a problem that the U.S. faces and must  solve in order for there to be more women represented in STEM fields to encourage future generations and achieve wage equality.

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Re: The Gender Pay Gap/Underrepresentation in STEM Careers

Post by Chaserp11 on Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:49 pm

I agree with your point that female STEM workers need to be paid as much as their male counterpart. Men and women are doing the same work so they should earn the same amount of money. I didn't really understand your example about the number of female directors. Since women make up only 24% of all STEM workers, 12 out of 52 directors sounds about right (12/52=23.07%) because only 24% of the directors should be females. Your point actually contradicts you argument saying that there are not enough women in leadership positions. Since there are a lot less female workers than males in STEM fields, there should be fewer women in leadership positions.

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Re: The Gender Pay Gap/Underrepresentation in STEM Careers

Post by catherinecampbell on Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:42 pm

Let me first define STEM, it's an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. So, when it is stated that there are only 12 out of 52 that are directors, that shows women that are directors of any department (including human resources, law, research and development, etc.), however, 6 of those twelve are in research and development (aka the STEM areas of the company). Therefore, 6 of 52 directors are women that are in upper-level STEM positions.

I also want to point out that each company/agency is going to have different statistics of female workers than Sandia Labs. In regards to the entire country, the underrepresentation is staggering in some areas, while in others the number women compared to men is closing. Sandia does attempt to be equal. With many other companies, you may not see the same numbers. With that said, the number of women in leadership positions at Sandia is meant to allude to the bigger picture.

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