How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science

“Walk into any tech company or university math department, and you’ll likely see a gender disparity: Fewer women than men seem to go into fields involving science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Over the years, educators, recruiters and government authorities have bemoaned the gender gap and warned that it can have dire consequences for American competitiveness and continued technological dominance.

It isn’t just that fewer women choose to go into these fields. Even when they go into these fields and are successful, women are more likely than men to quit. “They tend to drop out at higher rates than their male peers,” said Toni Schmader, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. “As women enter into careers, the levels of advancement aren’t as steep for women as for men.”

While the numbers aren’t new, the methods of collecting data for this study, and the results, shine an interesting light on the numbers of women in science.  While the cause is still a rather chicken and egg problem, it seems that “In order to boost the numbers of women who choose to go into those [STEM] fields, you have to boost the number of women who are in those fields.”

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