Date of Award

1-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

College/School

College of Science and Mathematics

Department/Program

Earth and Environmental Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Randall FitzGerald

Committee Member

William Thomas

Committee Member

Greg Pope

Subject(s)

Sex discrimination in science, Sex discrimination in education, Sex discrimination in employment

Abstract

The Gender gap in STEM is a long-term problem that has only recently been addressed. Research has just begun to delve into why so few women pursue university degrees in the STEM fields and even less enter the STEM workforce. This research will examine the evolutionary factors which contributed to the gender gap, such as offspring investment, greater investment in male offspring, and female risk aversion. Despite the fact that there are plenty of modern advances which should compensate for these factors, there are societal stigmas against women in the STEM workplace which allow the gender gap to continue. Societal forces such as the concept of women’s work, implicit bias, stereotypes against women, assumed motherhood for all women and the toxic STEM culture ensure that the gender gap is not alleviated. It will also explore the push back against the women going into the field. It is clear that there is a general belief that women do not belong in STEM and that those who dare pursue a career in STEM do so knowing full well that they will have to accommodate male peers and superiors. This research will attempt to explain why the STEM fields are not thought to be a place for women; why gender as a social construct has such an influence in academic and workplace politics and how this has lead to the discrepancies in gender percentages in the STEM workforce. Research will both delve into why men do not think women are good a STEM and why women have internalized the bias. While both of these issues arise from societal biases, the manifest in different ways, are processed differently and effect the respective genders differently. This research will address the gap in the literature, as all previous literature has addressed one facet of the gender gap and only done so from either an evolutionary or cultural point of view.

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