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Report: More Women and Communities of Color in STEM Than in Past Years

More women, as well as Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native people collectively, worked in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs over the past decade and are earning more degrees in science and engineering fields at all levels compared to previous years, according to a recent report from The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).Dr. Sethuraman PanchanathanDr. Sethuraman Panchanathan

The report, “Diversity and STEM: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities 2023,” is a federal attempt to investigate diversity trends in STEM employment and education.

"Diversity is America's unique advantage in science and technology," said National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan. NCSES is part of the NSF.

"Our global leadership depends upon diversity, leveraging different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view to bring unique insights to problem solving and discovery," he said. "The Diversity and STEM report provides objective, reliable data on where our nation has made progress towards access and equity in STEM education and careers, as well as where we must do more."

To note, despite the increases for the aforementioned demographics, these groups – and those with disabilities – remain underrepresented in STEM compared to their percentage in the U.S. population, the report found. Currently, the STEM workforce includes 12.3 million women (35% of the STEM workforce), 8.3 million members of underrepresented minority groups (24%), and 1 million people with disabilities (3%).

Women earned half of science and engineering bachelor's degrees and 49% of associates degrees, yet only represented about 35% of the STEM workforce, with wages consistently lower than men's, according to the report. And although Hispanic, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native people comprise 31% of the population, they comprise only 24% of the 2021 STEM workforce.

Hispanic, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native STEM workers also have lower median earnings than white or Asian STEM workers, the report found.

Another finding was that Hispanic students are earning associate's degrees in science and engineering fields at higher rates now, with the total number of such degrees awarded to Hispanic students tripling 2011-2020.

"A highlight of this year's edition of Diversity and STEM is the use of a broader definition of 'STEM work', providing a better understanding of STEM representation by different demographic groups," said NCSES Director Emilda B. Rivers. "For the first time, we count in STEM statistics all groups whose work requires a high level of technical knowledge, regardless of their degree."



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