The issue of gender equality in STEM — science, technology, math and engineering — is a fraught one, and experts agree that STEM industries around the world have a long way to go before women are universally given the same respect, pay and opportunities as men. Now, a new study has evaluated the gender equality in STEM at 541 academic institutions in 38 countries worldwide and formulated the results into a report card — and the grades aren’t exactly stellar.
Over four years, The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute collected data for their Institutional Report Card for Gender Equality, and then analyzed it in cooperation with the University of Michigan. The results are disheartening, lead author Dr. Whitney Beeler, MD, of the University of Michigan’s Department of Radiation Oncology, tells Bustle.
“Women are well-represented among student population, suggesting that the recruitment of women into STEM and academia more generally is going well,” she says. “Unfortunately, it appears that the pipeline is leaking — with a consistent drop in the proportion of women at each rung of the professional ladder. And, on top of this, many institutions are failing to recruit tenured or senior faculty women to fill this gap.” The STEM pipeline is another term for the career ladder, and its ‘leakiness’ for women — as they leave the profession, rather than ascending to higher and more prestigious positions — has been a well-known phenomenon for some time.