The Economics and Statistics Administration within the United States’ Department of Commerce have sent out their report titled Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation. The report alludes to what multiple reports in the first six months of 2016 have alluded to — there are not enough women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforces. The Economics and Statistics Administration have crunched the numbers and have provided a clear picture of how big the STEM gender gap is.
According to the report:
The results are even worse in India. Kelly Services, a global workforce staffing industry who specialize in engineers and accountants, have released a report titled Women in STEM. The report indicated that 81 percent of women who have STEM jobs in India quit their jobs 10 to 15 years into their careers.
The report reinforces the sentiments of a recent report by Engineers Australia that showed that the women who do make it into engineering workforces usually leave within 10 years. The report also shockingly stated that one percent of Australian women past the age of 50 years old are currently working in the engineering industries.
“To begin closing the talent gap, we must create an inclusive environment that facilitates greater engagement and retention of females in STEM. We must make it a priority to eliminate bias and barriers, to deliver top-down support and institutional accountability,” Kelly Services said.
One of the reasons the Deccan Chronicle gives to make sense of the grim statistics in India, is that women in India find it difficult to balance both taking care of family and managing employment at the same time. The website defines this as the ‘double burden syndrome’. Other reasons for drop-out numbers around the world are directly related to gender bias and gender discrimination within engineering industries.
What is the way forward for getting more women into STEM careers? Kelly Services writes that mentorship and increasing diversity levels. The raising of diversity scores in tertiary institutions was recently celebrated after Dartmouth College produced more female graduates than men graduates. In 2016, in Dartmouth engineering courses, female attendance made up 54 percent of the class.
Making a diverse workforce in engineering still has a long way to go in the global context, however, any progress is progress.