Women in STEM Salary Gap

STEM Salary Gap

Examining Gender Disparities in STEM Salary Gap:

Are Women Achieving Parity with Men?

Despite significant progress, gender based STEM Salary Gap persist within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). While women have made remarkable advancements in education and now comprise 44% of college-educated workers in STEM occupations, a closer analysis of the data reveals diverging patterns of gender equality. Men continue to dominate mathematically and spatially intensive STEM fields like engineering, computer science, and physical science, while women are overrepresented in life sciences, psychology, and social sciences. The widening disparities at the undergraduate level have potential implications for employment, pay gaps, academia, and beyond.

Progress and Disparities in STEM Education:

Since the 1990s, women have made remarkable strides in education. In 2019, they surpassed men, constituting 52% of the workforce with at least a college degree. The representation of college-educated women in STEM occupations has also been on the rise since the 1990s. However, significant variations exist in women’s representation across different STEM fields. In 2017, women earned two-thirds of bachelor’s degrees in life sciences, psychology, and social sciences. In contrast, they accounted for only a quarter of degree recipients in math-intensive fields like engineering, computer science, and economics.

Gender Disparities and Shifting Trends in STEM Salary Gap:

Gender disparities within STEM bachelor’s degrees have become more pronounced since 2000. While women’s representation in life sciences, psychology, and social sciences has increased, men have earned a higher number of bachelor’s degrees in math-intensive fields such as computer science and mathematics. This trend highlights the challenges of female attrition along the STEM educational hierarchy, particularly in fields dominated by women at the undergraduate level. In contrast, fields with low female representation at the undergraduate level, such as geoscience, engineering, economics, and computer science, have higher female representation among doctoral degree recipients.

Gender Differences in the STEM Workforce in STEM Salary Gap:

Although the college-educated STEM workforce has almost reached gender parity, substantial gender gaps persist across different types of STEM jobs. In 2019, women constituted only 29% of the science and engineering (S&E) workforce but represented 57% of S&E-related workers in fields like nursing and dental hygiene. The representation of women in STEM careers aligns with the patterns observed in STEM degrees. Women are more prevalent in biological, agricultural, and environmental sciences, psychology, and social sciences, while they are underrepresented in fields like geoscience, engineering, economics, mathematics, computer science, and physical sciences.

Implications for STEM Salary Gap and Academic Positions:

The fields in which women are underrepresented typically offer higher salaries compared to fields with a higher proportion of women. For instance, male-dominated occupations like computer science and engineering command higher median salaries compared to female-dominated fields like psychology and life sciences. The share of women holding academic positions has increased substantially, but significant variations exist across fields. Women hold a smaller proportion of academic positions in engineering, physical and geosciences, mathematics and statistics, and computer science, while they are more represented in psychology, life sciences, and social sciences.

Leaky Pipeline and Career Hierarchy:

The pipeline leaky phenomenon contributes to the underrepresentation of women in higher academic positions. While women constitute 45% of junior full-time faculty, their representation drops to 33% among senior full-time faculty. The extent of pipeline leakage varies across fields, with higher leakage observed in fields where women are overrepresented in junior positions. Factors such as positive selection and occupational “tipping” may explain these differences, but further research is needed to fully understand the dynamics.

As women’s representation in certain STEM fields declines at the undergraduate level, the career pipeline in those fields will shrink further. This reduced gender diversity can have negative implications for the quality of knowledge generated and problem-solving success. Additionally, the widening gender STEM Salary Gap between STEM fields perpetuates the gender pay gap, which can impact gender equality beyond the labor market. Addressing these disparities is crucial to fostering a more inclusive and equitable STEM landscape.

Learn more about STEM Salary Gap at Stemta.com

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