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US women and minority scientists discouraged from pursuing STEM careers, national survey shows
Date:3/22/2010

PITTSBURGH, MARCH 22, 2010 -- Significant numbers of today's women and underrepresented minority chemists and chemical engineers (40 percent) say they were discouraged from pursuing a STEM career (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) at some point in their lives, according to a new Bayer Corporation survey.

U.S. colleges are cited by them as the leading place in the American education system where discouragement happens (60 percent) and college professors as the individuals most likely responsible for the discouragement (44 percent).

The U.S. K-12 education system falls short, too. On average, the survey respondents give it a "D" for the job it does to encourage minorities to study STEM subjects and a "D+" for girls.

The Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey polled 1,226 female, African‑American, Hispanic and American Indian chemists and chemical engineers about their childhood, academic and workplace experiences that play a role in attracting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

"If we want to achieve true diversity in America's STEM workforce, we must first understand the root causes of underrepresentation and the ongoing challenges these groups face," said Greg Babe, President and CEO, Bayer Corporation. "We want to knock down barriers. If we can do that, we'll be able to develop the attitudes, behaviors, opportunities and resources that lead to success."

Other major findings include:

  • Regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, interest in science begins in early childhood. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents say they first became interested in science by age 11. This parallels the findings of a 1998 Bayer Facts survey of American Ph.D. scientists, which included white men. In that survey, six-in-ten also reported interest in science by age 11.

  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) say significant numbers of wome
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Contact: Bryan Iams
bryan.iams.b@bayer.com
412-777-5200
Bayer Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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