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Reducing Implicit Gender Biases and Increasing Women’s Participation and Success In The Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science (STEM) Fields – 2019

  • RESET

Category:

WOMEN

Sub-Category:

Sub-Category: GENERAL

Resolution Number:

800.10.26

Club:

Calgary and Edmonton

Province:

Alberta

Year:

2019

Status:

Open

Background:

BACKGROUND: This resolution builds on and brings up to date Resolution No. 300.70.13 submitted to the Government of Canada in the 2017 Brief. Women represent 59% of all university graduates between ages 25-34. Yet, women continue to be underrepresented in the STEM fields, accounting for 39% of STEM graduates compared to 61% of non-STEM graduates. Of the women STEM graduates, about 39% (age 25-34) hold a university degree in engineering, mathematics or computer science compared to 61% of male STEM graduates.
In addition to the disproportionate representation of STEM university graduates, the labour market outcomes for STEM graduates vary based on gender. According to Statistics Canada, unemployment for women in the STEM fields is approximately 7% compared to 4.7% for men. A recent analysis by Statistics Canada conducted in 2016, and tax data by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship reveal that women with bachelor degrees working in technology earn $19,750 less than men with the same level education. A 2012 study conducted by Moss-Racusin et al., showed that both male and female faculty rated male applicants as significantly more competent and hireable than women with identical application materials. A 2014 study by Reuben et al., also found that both men and women were twice as likely to hire a man for a job that required math.
Implicit bias dis-associating women from math performance starts young. Despite a major 1990 meta-analysis disproving any gendered association to math ability, a 2011 study of North American children shows that 6-year-old children already believe that boys are better at math. The implication of these early learned biases is that women are less likely to pursue STEM because of the lack of self-identification with science and math despite high ability and skill in those areas. Women are also more likely to drop out of the STEM field after obtaining a university degree. A 2016 study conducted by Sassler et al., found that women in STEM fields have been more likely to move out of their field of specialty than other professional women, especially early in their careers. After about the first 12 years, 50% of women who originally worked in STEM fields had moved to other occupations.
As for women STEM professionals in the workplace, a 2014 study conducted by Williams, Phillips and Hall demonstrate that implicit gender bias is prevalent for women in the science field and women of colour experience this bias more frequently. Nearly 50% of Black and Latina women report having been mistaken for administrative or custodial staff at their workplace. Two-thirds of women with children reported maternal bias against them where their commitment and competence were questioned, and career opportunities became more limited.
Women win fewer awards for scientific or research achievements, and those that they do win are of lower prestige and monetary value, earning only 64% of the prize money that men earn, further devaluing women’s contributions to the field.

Comments:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Canada urges the Government of Canada, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister for Economic Development and Official Languages, the Minister for Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development to continue working towards the eradication of gender bias in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science (STEM) fields, at the educational and professional levels;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Canada urges the Government of Canada, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister for Economic Development and Official Languages, the Minister for Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development to implement a taskforce with the goals of continuing to develop and implement educational programs and mentorship opportunities that encourage women’s participation in the STEM fields, from early childhood through their university studies;
AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Canada petitions the Government of Canada, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister for Economic Development and Official Languages, the Minister for Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development to take affirmative steps to increase the persistence and representation of women in STEM fields post graduation.

©BPW Canada  www.bpwcanada.com

Article ID: 13320