08 Mar 2022
News
2 minute read

Closing the STEM career gender gap

Our IBM Research panel shines light on what it’s like for women to go from studying STEM in school to landing — and keeping — a career in STEM.

Closing the STEM career gender gap

Our IBM Research panel shines light on what it’s like for women to go from studying STEM in school to landing — and keeping — a career in STEM.

A recent article1 by the U.S. Census Bureau made something very clear: “Women are nearly half of U.S. workforce but only 27% of STEM workers.”

While this number has been improving in most job categories — at IBM, women comprise 30%2 of the company’s technical workforce hired in 2020 — there’s still a significant gap between men and women who earn certain According to the Pew Research Center, “STEM degrees include degrees in life sciences, agriculture and environmental sciences; physical and earth sciences; engineering and architecture; computer and information sciences; math and statistics; and health-related fields.”STEM college degrees.

In 2020, for every 100 math and computer science doctoral degrees men earn, women earned fewer than 39.3 And the gap often widens when women move from new graduate to new hire.

According to the Pew Research Center,4 during the same time period, “women earned 53% of STEM college degrees … but just 22% [of the degrees] in engineering and 19% in computer science” — the two occupations that make up 80% of the According to the Pew Research Center: “The STEM workforce is [made up of] those working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM jobs are defined solely based on occupation and include any of 74 standard occupations in life sciences, physical and Earth sciences, engineering and architecture, computer and math occupations as well as health-related occupations including healthcare providers and technicians.”STEM workforce.1 In the same Pew report, women only made up 15% of engineering jobs and 25% of computer science jobs.

How to be an advocate for women in STEM

How can we empower women to close this STEM gap? Do professional experiences for women in STEM differ from the expectations they had as students? If so, how we can we encourage women to join the workforce — and advocate for them when they do?

In the latest “What’s Next” seminar, IBM scientists Olivia Lanes, Qiskit Research and Education lead, IBM Quantum, Priya Nagpurkar, director, Hybrid Cloud Platform, Sara Berger, neuroscientist, Responsible & Inclusive Tech, and Saška Mojsilovic, IBM Fellow, AI Research discussed these questions and more. Watch a replay of their discussion.

Date

08 Mar 2022

Notes

  1. Note 1According to the Pew Research Center, “STEM degrees include degrees in life sciences, agriculture and environmental sciences; physical and earth sciences; engineering and architecture; computer and information sciences; math and statistics; and health-related fields.” ↩︎
  2. Note 2According to the Pew Research Center: “The STEM workforce is [made up of] those working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM jobs are defined solely based on occupation and include any of 74 standard occupations in life sciences, physical and Earth sciences, engineering and architecture, computer and math occupations as well as health-related occupations including healthcare providers and technicians.” ↩︎

References

  1. “Women Are Nearly Half of U.S. Workforce but Only 27% of STEM Workers.” U.S. Census, 26 Jan. 2021, https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/01/women-making-gains-in-stem-occupations-but-still-underrepresented.html.
  2. “IBM 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Report.” IBM, 2020, https://www.ibm.com/impact/be-equal/pdf/IBM_Diversity_Inclusion_Report_2020.pdf
  3. “Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2010 to 2020.” Council of Graduate Schools, October, 2021, https://cgsnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/CGS_GED20_Report_final_v2-2.pdf
  4. “STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity.” Pew Research Center, 1 Apr. 2021, https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2021/04/01/stem-jobs-see-uneven-progress-in-increasing-gender-racial-and-ethnic-diversity/#women-make-up-a-quarter-or-fewer-of-workers-in-computing-and-engineering-are-overrepresented-in-health-related-jobs