On SAGE Insight: STEM Pathways: Do Men and Women Differ in Why They Enter and Exit?

From AERA Open

The United States is among one of the countries that strive to be the world leader in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. There are drastic differences that exist in the number of males and females that pursue degrees in STEM, with males dramatically outnumbering females in most of these fields, a pattern that goes back decades. Authors of this paper created and administered a survey to almost 8,000 individuals in and outside of STEM fields, results shed light on the various factors that are critical for sparking STEM interest and persisting in STEM fields for each sex as well as the differences in movement in and out of STEM pathways for each.

Abstract

To remedy the disparity between sexes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, it is important to understand the factors critical to initiating and maintaining STEM interest. To this end, we created and administered a survey to almost 8,000 individuals in and outside of STEM fields. Our results shed light on the various factors that are critical for sparking STEM interest and persisting in STEM fields for each sex as well as the differences in movement in and out of STEM pathways for each. These results reveal that although there is no singular pathway into STEM fields, self-driven interest is a large factor in persistence, especially for males, and females rely more heavily on support from others.

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Article details

STEM Pathways: Do Men and Women Differ in Why They Enter and Exit?
Adam V. Maltese, Christina S. Cooper
First Published August 28, 2017
AERA Open

     
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