Women in STEM: Jody Robie Presents the Facts

Bay Path University is dedicated to changing the face of the STEM landscape. Through its American Women’s College, the first all-women online accredited bachelor’s degree programs in the US, the university is helping women to gain the education and leadership skills needed to forge long and successful careers. The program offers more than 28 degrees that can be studied flexibly, with the aim to empower women from all backgrounds.

Our Senior Vice President of North America Jody Robie is celebrating Mass TLC’s participation with Bay Path University: “Closing the Gaps: Building Pathways for Adult Women in a Technology-Driven Workforce.” The 3-year project, addressing the need for skilled digital workers and gender equality in tech. The project aims to align the American Women’s College’s offerings with the needs of tech employers.

Jody has put together some stats to highlight why it’s so important that we encourage women to take up a career in STEM.

74% of girls are interested in a STEM profession

A 2018 study in the US showed that 74% of girls and young women expressed a desire to work in a STEM-related role. Attitudes towards STEM are changing, with the girl guides introducing cybersecurity badges and schools establishing STEM clubs to help break down gender stereotypes.

Middle school girls that join STEM clubs are 74% more likely to study computer science in high school than those that don’t. However, only 18% of US computer science bachelor’s degrees are awarded to women, so something is stopping young women from pursuing these career paths once they leave high school.

24% of STEM students are women

It’s widely reported that the number of women studying all STEM subjects is increasing, and it is. In 2009 only 140,000 women were graduating from STEM fields in the US, whereas in 2016 this figure was over 200,000. This is an increase of over 42% in just 7 years.

However, what isn’t recognized is that the number of men studying STEM subjects is also increasing, meaning in America the STEM gap is continually snowballing, with women currently only making up 24% of STEM students across the country.

Women make up 22% of the US STEM workforce

In the US females make up 50% of the college-educated workforce, however, only 22% of STEM employees are women. This raises the question, what is stopping women from pursuing a career in science or STEM-related subjects?

The women who do work in STEM industries are more prominent in social and health-related science instead of engineering, computer science, and maths. Despite women working in science-related fields, there is still a gender imbalance in specific areas that must be addressed.

Only 1 in 10 US engineers are Latina, Black or another minority

While there’s a huge focus on attracting more women to STEM roles there’s still a lack of diversity in the women that are taking up a career in these industries. 86% of US women with a STEM-related degree are either white or Asian, only 3.6% are Latina and 2.7% Black women.

Only 1 in 20 American engineers and scientists are either Black, Latina and other minority women. STEM industries have a diversity problem that needs to be addressed which is wider than a gender issue. Inclusivity needs to be at the forefront of STEM recruitment efforts to make people from all backgrounds feel they can forge a longstanding career.

4.8% of CEOs on the Fortune 500 List are female

In 2018, there was a total of 24 women CEOs on the Fortune 500 list. That’s 4.8% of all senior leadership positions.

This remains despite reports that Fortune 500 companies with at least 3 women in leading positions increase ROI by 66%. Plus, for these women to sit on corporate boards, they’re often more qualified than their male counterparts and must work harder to prove themselves when it comes to technical ability and knowledge.

However, it’s not all bad news, in 2018 it was reported that 25.5% of Google’s global leaders were women and 29% of Apple leaders were women, which shows the industry is becoming more accepting of female role models and leadership; providing inspiration for future generations.

Women in software development earn $250 less than men

Even in 2020, the gender pay gap is something that doesn’t seem to go away and it’s particularly prevalent in tech and STEM industries. In the US, it’s been reported that female software developers earn on average $250 less than their male counterparts per week.

In the tech industry, women earn $0.95 for every $1 a man makes, however, we must recognize that this is far better than the US average which sees women making $0.79 for every $1 men earn.

56% of women in tech roles end up quitting their jobs

There are many theories around why this is, however, the fact is 41% of women working in STEM roles and 56% of women working in tech have ended up quitting their jobs. This could be down to company culture, isolation, lack of progression and even ineffective responses to feedback. However, it makes it clear that STEM companies still have a long way to go when it comes to creating an inclusive and diverse workspace that works for people of all genders and cultures.

So, there you have it, while progress is being made to increase diversity in STEM industries, there still seems to be a long way to go for organizations both in the US and globally to improve career opportunities for women of all backgrounds. Talent Works has produced an employer’s guide for helping to attract and retain women in STEM roles, from company culture through to how you advertise a role.

Jody Robie is the Senior Vice President of North America. If you like to follow up and connect with her, please get in touch on Linkedin.