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Article: A Fast Growing & Vital Field with Declining Share of Women

New Study Reports Underrepresented Women in Growing STEM Fields

Jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields are expected to grow by 17% between 2008 and 2018. However, women are underrepresented in STEM fields and have been losing ground in STEM degrees from community colleges, according to a report by The Institute of Women’s Policy Research. In 1997, women earned 33.8% of STEM degrees in community colleges, but that number dropped to 27.5% in 2007. Only one in four jobs in STEM is held by women even though they make up half of the labor force.

“Investing in STEM education for low-income women and student parents is a win-win strategy,” said Cynthia Costello, author of the report. “It strengthens the economic security of American families, and expands the number of highly-skilled STEM workers to make the nation more competitive in the 21st century.” Women with STEM jobs earn one-third more than women in non-STEM jobs. The report singles out community colleges which provide opportunities for low-income women to earn degrees in a variety of fields.

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