A lack of quality science and math education programs, persistent stereotypes, and financial issues related to the cost of education were cited as the top three causes for the underrepresentation of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, according to a new Bayer Facts of Science Education survey. The survey found that social and economic factors were the central factors of the disparity.
Survey respondents faulted the education system for the obstacles that keep the STEM fields homogenous. About 75 percent of respondents said that women and minorities are absent from STEM fields because they were not identified, encouraged, or nurtured to pursue STEM studies as children. The survey also found that science teachers play a larger role than parents in stimulating and sustaining interest in science.
About two-thirds of those polled said underrepresentation of women and minorities exists in their company or organization. Seventy percent of respondents said it is harder for women to succeed in STEM fields than it is for men, while 67 percent said it is more difficult for minorities than for nonminorities.
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