The vast majority of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States depend on math and science skills, yet the number of women obtaining science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees continues to stagnate. CDW-G surveyed 300 college women and recent graduates to better understand this trend.
“As a leading technology provider to higher education and prominent employer in the technology industry, this is a topic that is important to us,” said Aletha Noonan, vice president of higher education, CDW-G. “We wanted to explore women’s experience in STEM to discuss how we can help build a more inclusive and engaging environment, while contributing to a stronger female STEM pipeline.”
CDW-G surveyed two distinct groups:
- Women in STEM – students who plan to graduate with a STEM major, or who have graduated with an undergraduate or graduate STEM degree in the last five years
- Former STEM students – women who left their STEM major
Both groups experienced negative stereotypes, discomfort asking questions in class and a lack of female role models. Almost two-thirds of survey respondents struggled with confidence in STEM.
However, there are several actions higher education institutions can take to encourage female STEM students. Survey respondents suggest universities and colleges help connect students with influential females in STEM, create internship opportunities for women and bring in more female role models to speak on campus.
“These findings directly correlate to what we see in higher education. Strong role models and internships play a huge part in helping to spark young women’s interest in STEM, boosting their confidence and keeping them engaged,” said Maureen Biggers, director of Indiana University’s Center of Excellence for Women in Technology (CEWiT). “To this end, at Indiana University, we launched CEWiT, a center designed to promote the participation, empowerment and achievement of women in technology rich fields.”
Released today at EDUCAUSE, CDW-G’s Women in STEM: Igniting Engagement infographic illustrates barriers facing female college STEM students and the role higher education institutions can play in advancing engagement.
In August and September 2016, CDW-G surveyed 300 college women in STEM, including 150 current female STEM students – those who intend to graduate with a STEM major or have graduated with an undergraduate or graduate STEM degree in the last five years – and 150 former female STEM students – those students who left their STEM major. The margin of error for this survey is ±5.62% at a 95% confidence level.Tweet