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Sexism in Science is Caused by Traditional Gender Roles

| June 12, 2014 | 1 Comment
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Photo by Isabelle Saldana/Flickr

Women have made great strides in fighting for equality in America, but are there factors that still hold women back in certain areas like science? In our #DoNowSexism post, we asked students, What do you have to say about the reasons and realities of sexism in science? What are the barriers, if any, to women in STEM careers?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, women make up 50% of the workforce, yet only 26% of women work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. A 2008 study in the UK revealed female engineers were paid on average around $24,000 less than their male co-workers. Many argue this gap between men and women in science is caused by a lack of female role models, the threat of stereotypical gender roles and the exclusive nature of the field where women are often underrepresented at conferences and scientific advisory boards. One solution some have proposed is to create special funding programs for women.

For the past few weeks, students expressed concern over how sexism still exists today. Many students discussed a wide variety of barriers that inhibit women from pursuing science like traditional gender roles and even a lack of interest all together. The majority of students, however, argued that the way society perceives women in the workforce holds them back from

Why is this still happening?

A few students discussed in general their concern about how sexism still exists today.

What are the barriers?

Students questioned what factors contribute to sexism in STEM.

Wage Gap

Students investigated deeper and discussed how lower wages may discourage women from working in STEM fields.

Traditional gender roles

Many argued the way women are perceived in society inhibits them from working in STEM.

Lack of interest

Some also pointed to how not every girl will be interested in science.

It’s not just science

Others pointed to how science is not the only field where sexism still exists.

What can we do?

Students proposed different solutions to close the gender gap in STEM fields.

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Category: Community Voices, Do Now Round-Ups, Do Now: Science, Science, Science in the Community

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About the Author ()

Laura Robledo studied English at UC Berkeley. When she is not reading, looking up new music, or running half marathons, she loves to explore the beautiful city of San Francisco.