The STEM Gap

When it comes to 'innate' abilities, there's zero evidence to support the notion that boys are better at math and science. Yet these limiting stereotypes persist.

2010-11 Ƶ American Fellow Cecille Pemberton Labuda
Why It Matters

Nature or Nurture? No, It's Bias

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields will account for some of the fastest growing — and highest paying — jobs of the future. Yet girls and women are still not on par with boys and men in preparing for or entering into these fields.

Gender bias in school remains a significant barrier to girls’ progress in STEM.Starting in early childhood, teachers and parents provide explicit and implicit messages that boys and men are “better” at math and science — although there is no evidence for that. Իare even morefrompursuing mathand science, because they faceand have less access to critical resources, opportunities and role models.

showsthat there isno inherent difference in math and science capabilitybetween girls and boys.It’s also a myth that girls aren’t interested in science: In elementary, middle, and high school,girls and boys take math and science courses in , except in engineering and AP computer science, according to theNational Science Foundation.Onefound thatthe apparentgender gap in mathematics is smaller in countries with greater gender equality, suggesting that gender differences in math are largely due to cultural and environmental factors, not ability.

UnderRepresented and Underpaid

Still girls havefewer role models and fewer examples in Ի. This reinforces stereotypes of these specialties as . estimates that if girls had the same number of women inventor role models that boys have of male inventors, the gender gap in innovation could be cut in half.

Ǵbias against is thebiggest obstacle keepingcollege womenaway frompursuing STEM degrees. Men vastly outnumber women majoring inmany areas of math, science and technology.Soit’s no surprise that women make up only

earns two-thirds more than those employed in other fields. Giving women equal opportunities to pursue — and thrive in — STEM careers helps narrow the gender pay gap and enhance women’s economic security. What’s more, greater diversity also helps to banish biases, ensure a more talented STEM workforce and lead to a fuller range of the products and services that workforce produces.

How We Can Close the STEM Gap


Women & STEM

Girls and women are systematically tracked away from science and math throughout their educations, limiting their training and options to go into these fields as adults. Get the facts about the STEM gap with Ƶ’s research.

Read the Report
Faces of Ƶ

Build Connections between Scientists and Students

There’s a huge disconnect between what many folks think science is and what it actually is. We can decrease the intimidation factor by building a connection between scientists and students and by showing scientists as people, not cold geniuses. Everyone needs to to engage with science, whether they’re scientists or not. The more we can show people that science is for them, the better-off society will be.

2018-19 American Fellow Sarah McAnulty
Smiling high school girl holding a model to illustrate STEM fields
Online Learning

STEMEd for Girls

Introducing STEMEd for Girls, a new Ƶ program created for girls in middle and high school—with a particular focus on girls of color. Whether you’re just starting to explore your interest in science and math, or you’ve already decided to major in STEM in college, this program will help you along the way. Gain confidence, have fun, get inspired—and join a national community of girls and women excited about the endless opportunities in STEM.

Finding the Right College: A Workbook for Girls and their Caregivers

Click below to download your go-to resource for selecting and applying to the right college, pursuing a STEM major, and financing your education, brought to you by Ƶ’s STEMEd for Girls Program.

Woman in lab coat and gloves works at microscope in lab.
Ƶ 2010-11 International Fellow Sandhya Sanduja
Find Funding

Fellowships & Grants

For more than 130 years, Ƶ has given over $115 million to more than 13,000 women and nonprofit organizations around the world. From astronauts to zoologists, the recipients of Ƶ’s fellowships, grants and awards represent nearly every imaginable field.

The dome of Capitol Building, Washington DC, and the American flag against a blue sky.
Policy Center

Where We Stand: STEM Education

Despite recent gains, gender biases remain in STEM at all levels of education and employment. If we truly intend to meet the needs of the 21st-century economy, we must break down barriers, increase girls’ interest in STEM, and encourage more women to pursue STEM careers.

Take Action

There are lots of ways to get involved with Ƶ’s work to advance gender equity. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of women and girls.