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Women in Science? Universities Don't Make the Grade

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Efforts to close the gap between men and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields often focus on students instead of faculty and institutional structures, according to Georgia Institute of Technology researchers, who conducted a study that examined the reasons behind the continuing low numbers of women pursuing STEM degrees.

The researchers found ongoing issues with the environment toward women in the classroom, the structure of academic programs, and poor faculty attitudes. These practices contribute to the long-lasting wage gap between men and women, as well as the ongoing lack of skilled scientists and engineers in the United States, according to the researchers.

University program directors believe women's self-confidence and their knowledge about careers in science is a bigger obstacle than their academic ability, according to Georgia Tech professor Mary Frank Fox. She says the key issues facing undergraduate women are a lack of supportive peer relationships, a dearth of faculty advisers, unsupportive classroom climates, a lack of both faculty and administrative commitment to undergraduate women, and little attention paid to gender equity on campus.

From Georgia Institute of Technology
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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