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The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Given projected shortages in STEM employment in the United States, increased emphasis has been placed on encouraging minorities and women to pursue STEM degrees. This entry describes both educational and workforce disparities between females and males in STEM fields of study. The entry also examines both individual and societal stereotyping that underrepresented populations (e.g., women) face and how this affects decisions to pursue STEM areas of study and career paths. Finally, this entry examines additional factors that affect women’s decisions regarding education and employment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Workplace Disparities

Women account for approximately 48% of the total U.S. workforce, yet only make up 24% of those persons who work in STEM careers, a figure ...

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