Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Upping the Numbers

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in contributing to future economic performance, higher living standards and improved quality of life. As dominant white males near retirement and immigration slows, developed countries face a serious skill shortage in critical STEM disciplines. This fascinating book examines why the numbers of women and minorities in STEM are low, outlines the potential consequences of this and prescribes much needed solutions to the problem.
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Chapter 1: Women and Minorities in STEM: A Primer

Ronald J. Burke


Ronald J. Burke If the cure for cancer is in the mind of a girl, we might never find it. Myra Sadker INTRODUCTION This chapter provides a partial review of literature highlighting the situation of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the challenges they face at various stages in the STEM journey, and action strategies that address these challenges. It lays the foundation for chapters that follow which address these issues and solutions in greater depth. It includes the following content: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● The contribution of STEM to economic success and performance The key role of the STEM workforce The looming shortage of STEM workers The underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM Benefits of including more women and minorities in STEM Barriers faced by women and minorities in STEM at all stages of the pipeline Action strategies for increasing the number of women and minorities in STEM. ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF STEM There is convincing evidence that scientific excellence and technological innovation were (are) important both for past and future economic performance. STEM is critical for national security, economic success and scientific leadership. STEM contributes directly to the standard of living 3 4 The big picture and quality of life of a country’s citizens. Thus a country’s prosperity, security and health depend on the contributions of STEM. There are several challenges now present for STEM occupations in all countries (Bybee and Fuchs, 2006). There are a greater number of economic competitors both in the developed...

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