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 13: The Representation and Experience of Women Faculty in STEM Fields

Xiangfen Liang and Diana Bilimoria


13. The representation and experience of women faculty in STEM fields Xiangfen Liang and Diana Bilimoria The overall proportion of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations has grown over time, but has consistently remained low. Women constituted 12 percent of STEM occupations in 1980 and 25 percent in 2000, with a growth of only 3 percentage points between 1990 and 2000 (National Science Foundation, 2006a, chap. 3). In 2003, women earned 38 percent of science and engineering (S&E) degrees and 58 percent of non-S&E doctoral degrees, up from 8 percent and 18 percent respectively in 1966 (National Science Foundation, 2006b, Figure F-1). What are the implications of these overall numbers regarding the representation of women faculty in STEM fields in academic settings? What do we know about the everyday experiences of women faculty within STEM departments in universities? What concerted actions can be undertaken to address the issues of representation and experiences of women faculty, which would substantially transform academic institutions and enhance the recruitment, advancement and retention of women faculty in STEM disciplines? We address these and other related questions in this chapter, employing research findings drawn from multiple sources to illustrate women’s representation and experiences in STEM fields. In the following sections, we first provide an overview of the representation of women faculty in academic STEM. Next we discuss general findings about the everyday experiences reported by women faculty across STEM disciplines, particularly in research universities. Finally, we provide remedies and solutions to...

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