Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

March 21, 2010

In an era when women are increasingly prominent in medicine, law, and business, why are there so few women scientists and engineers? A 2010 research report by AAUW presents compelling evidence that can help to explain this puzzle. Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) presents in-depth yet accessible profiles of eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers — including stereotypes, gender bias, and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities — that continue to block women’s progress in STEM. The report also includes up-to-date statistics on girls’ and women’s achievement and participation in these areas and offers new ideas for what each of us can do to more fully open scientific and engineering fields to girls and women.

Report Authors

Catherine Hill is the vice president for research at the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and an author of AAUW reports including Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success (2013); Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation (2012); and Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (2010). Before coming to AAUW, Hill was a study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and an assistant professor in planning and public policy at the University of Virginia. She has a bachelor and master’s degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in policy development from Rutgers University.

Christianne Corbett is a senior researcher at AAUW, where she writes about gender equity in education and the workplace. She is a co-author of a number of AAUW reports including AAUW’s Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation (2012) and Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (2010). Christianne is a regular spokesperson for AAUW on the subject of the underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM as well as the gender pay gap. She has been interviewed and quoted by many media outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post and has appeared on CNN and MSNBC.  Before coming to AAUW, she worked as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill and as a mechanical design engineer in the aerospace industry. Corbett holds a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering and government from the University of Notre Dame.

Former AAUW Senior Researcher Andresse St. Rose studied a wide range of gender equity issues in higher education and the workplace at AAUW, including the recruitment and retention of women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) throughout the educational pathway. She is a co-author of several AAUW reports including Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Prior to working at AAUW, Andresse was an academic counselor and taught high school math and biology. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hamilton College, a master’s degree from Boston College, and earned her doctorate in education policy from George Washington University.

On the Hill


On May 4, 2010, Nobel Laureate Carol Greider spoke at a Capitol Hill briefing along with Why So Few co-author Christianne Corbett.

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By:   |   March 21, 2010