Over the past 100 years, women have made incredible strides in gaining reputations in scientific fields such as engineering and medicine. From Rosalind Franklin to Jane Goodall, the incorrect stereotypes surrounding women in the 20th Century have diminished. However, the current situation is not perfect, and there is still work to be done to reduce the gender gap in scientific opportunities. Numerous studies have shown women in STEM professions publish less, get paid less for research, and hardly reach positions as high as men. Using Amy Bix’s presentation coupled with background information in women’s studies, I will present potential solutions to gender discrimination in modern day science.

To fully understand gender discrimination in science, it is imperative to first observe what factors keep women from entering professions in science at a rate considerably less than men. A possible reason relates to a generational issue. Since men studied STEM fields at a much larger rate 20-30 years ago, the various science professions of scientists, engineers, and doctors in the 21st Centuries are mostly filled with men. Current universities now have women majoring in STEM at a rate very similar to men. In her presentation, Professor Bix mentioned men are now used to having women as classmates in chemistry, biology, and other science courses. However, according to The National Girls Collaborative Project, “women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce.” What else can be done?

The solution to this gender gap is found at a young age for women. A lack of motivation and role models veer young women away from professions in science. Further, boys often see themselves as ‘superior’ to women in science classes during their elementary years. To combat such problems, teachers must show that women in the classroom are just as important as boys in the classroom. The stereotype that history and english are fundamentally ‘feminine’ must be taken away. Though this is easier said than done, this problem may only be able to cure itself over time. The road to a completely equal workforce in science is long and bumpy; however, with proper research and statistics it is possible to diagnose the true problems of the gender gap.

References:

“Statistics.” Statistics | National Girls Collaborative Project. Accessed October 30, 2018. https://ngcproject.org/statistics.