For unknown reasons, many career fields are dominated by one gender and no one, apparently, knows why.
Warning: This is not a politically correct post.
This situation can be made to look better or worse depending on how you define “STEM”. Most pseudo news reports define STEM as “TEM” – meaning technology, engineering and math and ignore nearly all of the fields of science. This hand waving trick makes the situation appear worse. In fact, they really mean just “TE” as nearly 50% of graduates in Math are women but the field is small enough that it makes barely a blip in “TEM” employment ratios.
Here is the chart that accompanies this pseudo news article:
By leaving out science fields where women fill most positions, this chart presents a skewed view. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Physical Therapy, for example, are not part of “biological/biomedical”. The “math” category is a no op – as it is so small as to have little impact on the “computer science” and “engineering” categories, which is what these stories are actually about. (The above chart is for Utah only and the national distribution is somewhat different.)
About 90% of nurses (health science) are women (many of which are likely not include in the “Biological/biomedical” category, above). About 75% of physical therapists (health science) are women. About 75% of veterinary medical students are women. Similarly high numbers in psychology. About half (or slightly more) of medical school graduates are women.
The root issue is – why are some fields dominated by one gender? About 90% of elementary school teachers are women and about 75% of K-12 teachers are women, as additional examples. These examples are ignored by the pseudo news media – have you ever seen a news media report on the “problem” of fields dominated by women?
This story works as propaganda by using
- cherry picking of the available data, which is a step away from censorship
- What You See Is All There Is – by omitting conflicting data, you are drawn to a conclusion based only that which is presented to you
Because these stories intentionally omit conflicting data, these are pseudo news stories being used as propaganda messaging.
It is a reality that there are fewer women in the “TE” fields and no one knows why. I am an old software developer. When I entered the field, about 40% of computer science graduates were women (today it is under 20%). My first two bosses were women. My second job was at a high tech company co-founded by a woman. For half of my time there, my boss was a woman with a PhD in electrical engineering and also, for about half my time there, our VP of R&D was a woman. When I was promoted to project manager, my first hire as a new manager was of a young woman (a political refugee, no less). Three of the women I worked with when we were all in our 20s, went on to finish out their careers (today) as vice presidents at technology companies. But by the early 1990s, something began changing. No one has come up with a plausible explanation as to why fewer women chose careers in “TE”.
Here is another example, from 2007, as shown in a chart – note that they have left out all of the health sciences, which are dominated by women (and are not included in “biological sciences”). They do at least title the chart “Degrees earned in Selected Science and Engineering Fields” without explaining the selection process and why some fields are not shown (this looks suspiciously like “cherry picking”):
Here is a chart from a 2016 NSF report showing percent of degrees awarded to women. The green line is roughly the 50th percentile, dropping slightly below that in recent years.
The fields that are omitted from pseudo news “STEM” reports employ large numbers of people and are are dominated by women.
These pseudo news report are focusing on “TE” and not “STEM”.
The root issue is why are some fields overwhelmingly dominated by one gender? This issue works both ways but only one category is publicized by the pseudo news media.
Similarly, why do women in college so outnumber men in college?
Note – I am starting to use the term “pseudo news” based on Daniel Boorstin’s 1961 book (“The Image: A guide to pseudo events in America”) that explains how pseudo events have come to dominate news reporting.