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 7: An Empirical Test of the Glass Ceiling Effect for Asian Americans in Science and Engineering

Tina T. Chen and James L. Farr


7. An empirical test of the glass ceiling effect for Asian Americans in science and engineering Tina T. Chen and James L. Farr It has been widely hypothesized that Asian Americans face a glass ceiling in their career progression (e.g. Cheng, 1997). Unlike other racial/ethnic minority groups, there are significant proportions of Asian Americans concentrated in professional and technical fields. The often positive images of Asian Americans in general, predominately that of the ‘model minority’, have led to the prevalent assumption that Asian Americans have overcome structural barriers in the USA and have achieved economic success (Cheng, 1997). In contrast, the cumulative research efforts of researchers in AsianAmerican studies have found that despite mass media images of Asian Americans as a successful minority group, Asian Americans still encounter barriers in their chances of advancing up the management hierarchy and experience lower returns on education. The concentration of Asian Americans in professional occupations, such as science and engineering, has often been used to bolster the claim that Asian Americans have overcome structural hurdles in the mainstream economy. This overlooks the fact that although Asian Americans may be highly represented in high-paying professional occupations, they still lag behind their white counterparts in pay and promotions. The model minority label has been used as a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. The comparable educational and occupational success of Asian Americans, over and above that of African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans, has generated and sustained the idea of Asian Americans as a...

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