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

n and underrepresented minorities are missing from the U.S. STEM workforce today because they were not identified, encouraged or nurtured to pursue STEM studies early on.

  • The top three causes/contributors to underrepresentation in STEM include lack of quality science and math education programs in poorer school districts (75 percent), persistent stereotypes that say STEM isn't for girls or minorities (66 percent) and financial issues related to the cost of education (53 percent), according to the survey respondents.

  • They say science teachers play a larger role than parents in stimulating and sustaining interest in science. During the elementary school years, 70 percent of the respondents say teachers have the most influence. During high school, 88 percent say teachers do.

  • Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of those polled say underrepresentation exists in their company's/organizations/institution's workforce.

  • Leading workplace barriers for the female and minority chemists and chemical engineers include managerial bias (40 percent), company/organizational/institutional bias (38 percent) and a lack of professional development (36 percent), no/little access to networking opportunities (35%), and a lack of promotional/advancement opportunities (35 percent).

  • Nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of the chemists/chemical engineers say it is harder for women to succeed in their field than it is for men, while more than two-thirds (67 percent) think it is more difficult for minorities to succeed than it is for non-minorities.

  • Across the board, respondents give their companies/organizations/institutions a "C" for having women and underrepresented minorities in senior positions to serve as role models and mentors for the younger employees.

    "This and previous Bayer Facts surveys confirm something I've long known that interest in science is genderless and colorless," said Dr. Mae C. Jem
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  • Contact: Bryan Iams
    bryan.iams.b@bayer.com
    412-777-5200
    Bayer Corporation
    Source:Eurekalert

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