Opening Doors in Glass Walls for Women in STEM

For over thirty years, women have remained noticeably underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Women make up more than half of college-educated workers but only 25% of college-educated STEM workers – in some fields, such as computer science, women make up only 18.1% of earned bachelor’s degrees. Missing half of the talent pool impacts our potential competitiveness and innovation in a technology-driven economy. But the real problems may begin once women enter a STEM career.

Once in a STEM career, women continue to face obstacles that prevent them from advancing in their career at the same rate as their male colleagues. From hiring practices to workplace culture, multiple factors create barriers that prevent women from achieving fulfilling and successful careers. The capacity of women in STEM to excel in their chosen careers impacts the pipeline for emerging women leaders in these fields, and if these barriers persist, the number of women in the pipeline will not be able to grow.

In order to open up pathways to leadership for more women in STEM, we must ask the question: What are those barriers? And more importantly, what can we do about them?

In honor of Women’s History Month, please join the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program, Women in Public Service Project and Serious Game Initiative for a conversation with women leaders in STEM on the barriers and opportunities for women in STEM, and the actions that can be taken to achieve true gender parity in these fields.