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Women gaining in STEM employment; still underrepresented overall

February 04, 2021

New one-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) show that in 2019, women made up 48 percent of all workers but only 27 percent of STEM employees. This figure has risen over the last 50 years where, in 1970, women accounted for just 8 percent of STEM employees while representing 38 percent of all workers. While the disparity between the number of women in STEM and the number of women in the workforce has shrunk, they remain underrepresented in STEM careers.

Women have made positive gains across all STEM occupations and now make up 47 percent of workers in math occupations, 45 percent in life and physical science occupations, and 64 percent in social science occupations. However, women did not make significant gains in computer and engineering occupations which accounts for roughly 80 percent of all STEM jobs. There also remains a gender pay gap in which women earned more than men in just one of the 70 STEM occupations identified by the Census Bureau. Groups such as the American Association of University Women (AAUW) have advocated for gender equity and shown how women earn markedly less in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid STEM jobs of the future.

The full dataset used by ACS is found here.

women, stem