Women Missing in STEM Careers: A Critical Review through the Gender Lens

Shamnaz Arifin Mim
2019 Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education  
The lack of girls and young women pursuing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) 1 is a global problem. Even though the number of science students has increased at secondary level in many countries since 1990, this has not translated into pursuing a STEM education at tertiary level. At the international level, women in science remain something of a rarity (UNESCO, 2007). According to the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), less than 27% of
more » ... ), less than 27% of 1 In this article I specifically focus on the subject of "science", which is generally a separate stream at secondary level that can be chosen by students (van de Werfhorst et al. 2010) . Focusing on science at secondary level will guide a STEM researchers globally are women, including in developed countries like Australia, Canada, China and the UK. Among the developing countries, Lesotho and Cape Verde in Africa and Myanmar in Asia have almost achieved gender parity, but all other developing countries lag behind in including women in STEM disciplines. Unfortunately, there are 15% fewer women than men in STEM subjects in Japan, Bangladesh, India, Korea, and Nepal (TRIMUNC, 2015). There are many educational, attitudinal, sociocultural, and economic barriers to girls pursuing a systematic analysis of higher STEM education and STEM career choices and uptake. Abstract: Although the number of female science students has increased at secondary level in many countries since 1990, this has not translated into pursuing a STEM education at tertiary level and not even into STEM jobs. It is thus important to analyze this issue of female participation in STEM disciplines, since their inclusion would empower them by improving the economy, health, and infrastructure worldwide and help to fight poverty internationally with technological and scientific interventions. This narrative review article aims to analyze the reasons behind female underrepresentation in STEM careers using the "feminist research methodological" approach. Underlying the conceptualization of gendering science, two specific concepts, gender role and empowerment, have been used. Here I have analyzed the educational, attitudinal, socio-cultural, and socioeconomic aspects of why there are so few women in STEM careers. This analysis introduces some important concerns that can be focused on during policy implication to ensure gender equality in STEM careers. This article highlights the socialization process of young students (especially girls), who are expected to perform their stereotyped gender roles consciously or subconsciously both in the family and educational settings. These gendered ideologies are clearly interlinked to the career they become interested or influenced in. The analysis reflects and recommends that subject domains and job sectors should be gender neutral where life experiences and interests of individuals should be emphasized. Such important concerns raised in this article would help educators in policy implication to ensure gender equality in STEM careers.
doi:10.31756/jrsmte.221 fatcat:qnd32vjzrvafbo4h6iv3n2uq5i