About Women in STEM Careers

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When referencing the value of programs based around the concepts of science, technology, engineering and math, the amount of achievements throughout history are impeccable. Without such careers dedicated to harboring individuals who share a common consensus that science is inevitably going to change the world for the better if it is pursued with diligence and a great amount of perseverance, our society today would not be as prosperous.

Although this aspect of careers relating to these subjects seems like it would be appealing to the dedicated and intellectual population, there are significantly less women that pursue STEM careers than men. As of 2018, it has been analyzed that women constitute 47 percent of he overall workforce and 28 percent of the Science and Engineering (S&E) workforce (National Girls Collaborative Project). Additionally, the most popular career choice involving STEM among women is a chemist, showing that 35.2 percent of chemists are women while 11.1 percent of physicists and astronomers are women, and 7.9 percent of mechanical engineers are women as of 2016 (National Girls Collaborative Project). A majority of women who initially pursue STEM careers chose to opt out as well, indicating a great problem within the environment of STEM to compliment the issues outside of the work environment (NASA Mission Team). It is ? imperative to understand the significance of the lack of women in STEM fields, as any occupation that is primarily dominated by a single demographic will not enhance its value to any consumer. This observation evokes the question: what is the best way to encourage more women to be involved in STEM careers? Arguably, the existence of demeaning stereotypes that women face in STEM based activities and careers are the most prominent reason as to why women are 1 ?NASA. ?Mission Team NASA?. NASA Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, 2016. underrepresented. Addressing these stereotypes and injustices among the younger generations would increase the percentage of involvement of women in STEM fields across the nation, including the implementation of political aspects in accordance with cultural aspects.

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Title IX Compliance:

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states that “?No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Advocates for Title IX justly contend that the application of such title is not especially limited to athletics. The implication of Title IX serves as a proper mechanism, in a legal sense, to address tangible discrimination within STEM fields, emphasizing that there is an abundance of legal support for the idea of institutions conducting Title IX compliance in order to ensure a fair and equal environment. The purpose behind the establishment of Title IX was to primarily enhance the abilities and protections of women in academia; however, over the years, Title IX enforcement in college athletics has been deemed distracting from the historical purpose of the enforcement regarding other areas of education that are unfortunately common areas of gender based discrimination against women, sexual harassment and assault, and other instances of inequality. ? Kris De Welde, an associate professor of sociology with expertise is in human sexuality and gender based issues, along with Sandra Laursen, a leader of research with studies of career paths in STEM, emphasize on this fact with their 2011 study. They observed through personal interaction with female applicants, that “Sexism and harassment were more evident in contexts where women had not reached critical mass, so were not sufficiently numerous to affect the local culture.” (Welde, Laursen). The presence of stereotyping and tokenism within the environment were especially prevalent according to the primary sources that were actively involved with the experiment, showing that these unfortunate acts were precursors to the suppression that a majority of the respondents experienced. Because these incidents took place in the STEM work environment, statistically more towards women, the justification for further implementation of Title IX to address this is especially necessary.

Compliance to Title IX, while elusive regarding education, could make a significant difference as it did for the world of athletics for women. Ruta Sevo, an advocate for women and girls involvement in STEM accompanied by her advanced degrees in civilization studies and information science, argues that an inter-institutional monitoring based organization must be considered a necessity when considering the possibility of setting standards and review with

Title IX compliance. In this sense, the monitoring would serve a similar purpose to that of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Institutions such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, among other independent agencies, do not require the special reporting or maintenance regarding the information associated with Title IX compliance from “grantee institutions” as a recipient of Federal Funding, and there are little Title IX complaints filed directly towards agencies (Sevo). Additionally, the Government Accountability Office, as of 2004, confirms this. Studies continue to indicate that discriminatory actions in the workplace especially in male dominated professions in areas such as STEM, continue to influence the career choices and professional progression of women (GAO). Because of these observations, the GAO established the recommendation that the administrators of agencies such as NASA take the appropriate steps to ensure that the actions of compliance reviews are conducted as required by Title IX. The evidence from these studies and conclusions represents the fact that if there were to be an established inter-institutional monitoring system to help uphold to the underrepresented aspect of Title IX, systematic discrimination would be greatly reduced. The fact that compliance to this title is difficult now, only shows the need for change, as change within the implementation of legislation and policy can help the development of equitable environments. Through the implementation of strict expectations for the aspects of Title IX in academia and STEM workplaces, the number of women not only pursuing STEM careers, but staying in them as well, will increase.

Because the underlying purpose of Title IX is not properly advocated, the stricter enforcement of the legislation in areas that do not just primarily apply to athletics is important.

At this time, Title IX advocates seeking for stricter enforcement of the regulation could result in the decrease of systematic discrimination, thus beneficially affecting the number of women in STEM fields. Title IX awareness among members of STEM programs is significantly low. This 6 statement is of debatable nature, since many would argue that the lack of women in STEM is simply because of psychological aspects contributing to interest, as significantly more women pursue fields related to humanities and sociology. For example, in 2015, a vast majority of elementary school teachers were women (United States Department of Labor). Daniel J. Emam,an associate in the Employment Law practice who focuses on his employment counseling, litigation defense, and sexual harassment investigations, defense, and prevention, establishes a scientific rebuttal towards the claim. Emam references a 2015 study conducted by the Department of Education conducted. It found that among highschool graduates, 50 percent of boys expressed interest in math in school whereas 43 percent of girls felt the same. On the 7 contrary, elementary school students expressed equal interest in STEM activities and professions despite difference in gender. Emam argues that because of these results, the cultural issue of stereotyping is prominent within STEM, and it has an impact on the workplaces that harbor STEM in an unfortunately significant way, signifying the need for an altercation in a form of regulation. Strict Title IX regulatory action would be the most viable option when considering the fact that culturally established ideologies are difficult to maintain absolute consensus from.

The most esteemed alternative solution that would be enforced rather than Title IX regulation is the opportunity to establish programs in order to encourage the interest of STEM among young girls. However, from what Emam emphasizes on, this would be irrelevant considering the interest is already present.

Career Guidance and Mentor Programs

On the contrary, this does not necessarily mean the idea of specialized programs dedicated to younger generations of girls should be relinquished. The opportunity to inspire girls to pursue STEM should be taken advantage of, especially through the presence of hands on experience and female role models. In 2015, individuals from the University of Rhode Island, conducted a camp dedicated to emphasizing the nature of STEM to girls. After taking before and after polls consisting of questions for the camp members to answer, the key goal of the camp was accomplished. After the camp, the girl’s interest in pursuing a career in STEM increased (Levine et. al). Evidently, through the use of funded programs, the encouragement offered to younger 8 generations has an impact on their outlook towards STEM careers, especially among girls.

Additionally, another camp conducted by a group of specialists in program development, youth services, and special education, showed that approximately twice as many participants aspired to be engineers at the end of the program as at the beginning (Mosatche et. al). Through the variety of experiences offered to the girls that utilized the aspects of female role models and activities, the results demonstrated extreme resemblance to the other study done in 2015.

Richard N. Zare, the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford University, addresses the importance of creating a variety of positive influences among women in STEM fields, and girls who are interested in STEM fields. As the studies have shown, implementation of beneficial programs with female role models effectively increases their interest in STEM fields. Zare takes an interesting approach, as he references the significance of both stricter Title IX compliance and programs dedicated to the younger generations of girls. The application of Title IX enterprise is highly recommended by him, as it is seen as a significant tool that can be utilized to alter the gender composition and ultimately the attitudes of everyone involved (Zare). The Stanford professor states that “?Because of the flexibility that Title IX provides, both good and bad solutions exist, and we must seek only what is best both for the scientific enterprise and for women.” Through this observation, the benefits and complications with the implementation of Title IX are acknowledged. Zare mentions that attempting to alter the mindsets of others that are culturally embedded is difficult, even if they are iniquitous. Both aspects are projected to offer beneficial impacts on the number of women in STEM careers.


Through the accumulated information regarding the best way to increase the demographic of females in STEM related career positions, a majority of professionals and experts have debated between two better options, which are establishing stricter forms of Title IX compliance, and creating the application of programs and mentors for young girls to help encourage and promote a galvanizing image of women in the STEM workforce. Edward Kessler, founder director of the Woolf institute and a leading thinker in relations, emphasizes on the importance of motives of users, stating in his writing “This leads me to the conclusion that it is not the medium itself but the motives of the users that are most important.” (Kessler). The motives of the younger generations should be enriched with ideas of confidence and motivation. However, with the implication of Title IX compliance being more emphasized, can help ensure that programs such as NASA are doing the most to fortify the workplace, relinquishing any source of systematic discriminatory action that is taking place. Systematic sexism is the primary reason why numbers are as low as they are. With the implementation of offering the opportunity to show young girls the potential of pursuing STEM, and Title IX compliance ensuring that is potential is a reality, the number of women pursuing STEM related careers will increase.


  1. The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education. “Women and STEM: Preparing for a Technology-Driven Economy .” ? The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education?, 2017, www.ncwge.org/TitleIX45/Women%20and%20STEM.pdf.
  2. Emam, Daniel J. “Manufacturing Equality: Title IX, Proportionality, & Natural Demand.”
  3. George Town Journal?, 2017, georgetownlawjournal.org/articles/228/manufacturing-equality/pdf.
  4. Klien, Zachary Nathan. “STEMing Out Disparities: The Challenges of Applying Title IX to The Study of Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” ?Rutgers Law Review ?, 2012, www.rutgerslawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/archive/vol64/issue3/Klein.pdf.
  5. Levine, Mindy, et al. “Addressing the STEM Gender Gap by Designing and Implementing an Educational Outreach Chemistry Camp for Middle School Girls.” ?Journal of Chemical Education?, ACS Publications, 2015, digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1080&=&context=chm_facpubs&=&sei-redir=1&referer=https%253A%252F%252Fscholar.google.com%252Fscholar%253Fhl%253Den%2526as_sdt%253D0%25252C6%2526q%253DImplemented%252Bprograms%252Bto%252Bencourage%252Bgirls%252Binto%252BSTEM%2526btnG%253D#search=%22Implemented%20programs%20encourage%20girls%20into%20STEM%22.
  6. Mosatche,, Harriet S., et al. “Effective STEM Programs for Adolescent Girls Three Approaches and Many Lessons Learned.” ?ERIC?, 2013, files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1003839.pdf.
  7. NASA. ?Mission Team NASA?. NASA Of Ce of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, 2016.
  8. Sevo, Ruta. “Literature Overview: The Application of Title IX to Science and Engineering.” SWE-AWE CASEE Overviews?, AWEonline, 2009, www.engr.psu.edu/awe/misc/ARPs/ARP_Overview_Title%20IX%20and%20SE.pdf.
  9. United States Government Accountability Office. “Women’s Participation in the Sciences Has Increased, but Agencies Need to Do More to Ensure Compliance with Title IX.” ?GAO?, 2004, www.gao.gov/new.items/d04639.pdf.
  10. Welde, Kris De, and Sandra L. Laursen. “The Glass Obstacle Course: Informal and Formal Barriers For Women Ph.D. Students in STEM Fields.” ?International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology ?, 2011, genderandset.open.ac.uk/index.php/genderandset/article/viewFile/205/363.
  11. Zare, Richard N. “Sex, Lies, and Title IX.” ?Citeseerx?, PSU, 2006, citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
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About Women in STEM Careers. (2021, Mar 09). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/about-women-in-stem-careers/