Article

The STEM field is failing to attract female talent

Mireia Usart, Sònia Sánchez-Canut and Beatriz Lores, Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Project selected in the Social Research Call 2019 (LCF/PR/SR19/52540001)

The need to intensify women’s positioning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is currently under the spotlight of public debate. Increasingly, different professions require an entire range of sets of technical knowledge, which means that women’s low participation in the STEM fields could leave them in a situation of inequality with respect to men. In Spain, women account for only 16% of professionals in the STEM fields. Also significant is the low percentage of women interested in taking a degree related to this field. Thus, the gender gap related to science and technology studies continues to represent a problem in university education. Despite the fact that different administrations, both state and international, are promoting an increase in these vocations, a loss of STEM talent is being observed that needs to be remedied. For this reason, it is fundamental to connect women with STEM subjects from the very first years of their school life.
Key points
  • 1
       In Spain, only 16% of professionals in the STEM field are women, and very few adolescent females, just 0.7%, show interest in studying a degree related to digital technologies, versus 7% of men.
  • 2
       Women enrol less on science and technology university courses than men, although once their studies have commenced, it is women who present the lowest dropout rates, above all in the in-person education modality. For virtual degrees, the tendency is inverted: over half of women drop out of their courses, and this proportion increases in the areas of engineering and maths.
  • 3
       The achievement of women in STEM area courses, measured as the percentage of subjects passed with respect to those in which they are enrolled, is greater than that of men.
  • 4
       The average grade in STEM university courses is similar for both sexes, although men obtain a better grade in their academic record for courses linked to mathematics, while women excel in engineering and architecture.

Classification

Tags

Subject areas

Related content

Article

How do gender, experience and caseload affect judicial decisions on intimate-partner violence cases?

Are male and female judges equally likely to grant restraining orders in cases of gender-based violence? According to this study, gender alone is not a determining factor but it is a key factor, together with experience and caseload.

Article

Do men live in wealthier households than women?

Does a gender gap exist in relation to household wealth? According to this study, the difference is more pronounced at advanced ages since, in old age, women have greater probabilities of being widowed and seeing their wealth limited.

Activity

Series of seminars at CaixaForum Macaya: “The Future of Gender (In)Equality”

In collaboration with the Centre for Demographic Studies, we are organising this series of seminars to analyse occupational gender gaps, old and new. We will also be reflecting on gender inequalities in health and the changes that occur when women participate more in public life.

Article

Evolution of science and technology in Portugal and Spain

The European Union set a target for the business sector to invest 2% of GDP in R&D. How is the convergence of Spain and Portugal towards this goal progressing?

Activity

Discussion "Research and Innovation in Spain and Portugal"

What are the most decisive factors in a country’s research and innovation systems? You can see the video of the discussion we organised to debate this issue here.

You may also find interesting

Gambling addiction in adolescence: betting, technologies and drug use

Article

Gambling addiction in adolescence: betting, technologies and drug use


Science

According to this study, the most popular form of gambling among teenagers is sports betting, and there is a higher level of online gambling addiction among boys.

From Moderate to Hyperconnected Users: Six Smartphone Use Profiles and Their Impact on Personal Well-being

Article

From Moderate to Hyperconnected Users: Six Smartphone Use Profiles and Their Impact on Personal Well-being


Science

What use are young Spaniards making of mobile phones? This study indicates that 19% are hyperconnected, showing difficulties in controlling the use of this technology.

Can algorithms expose tax fraud?

Article

Can algorithms expose tax fraud?


Science

Things are becoming increasingly difficult for tax evaders, with the new big data and artificial intelligence techniques that detect hidden wealth, the abuse of aggressive tax engineering and money laundering.