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Access To Education Does Lead To Gender Equality: Just Slowly

Forbes – Tim Worstall

“There’s a new paper out there looking at the progress on gender equality around the world. That paper, in the Journal of African Development, looks at three essential points. How much of the gender gap in education is being closed, how much of it in employment (and thus pay and income) and how much in political representation? Note that this is a global study so the numbers are going to be rather behind those of the UK and US. The way the paper is being read is that increased female access to education does not lead to greater gender equality of the other two. Yet this isn’t actually what the paper, properly understood, is saying at all. The important concept we have to add is of age cohorts. And once we do that then we can see that what we’re really being told is that greater access to education does indeed aid in closing those other two gaps. The point is though that this happens by age cohort: exactly the same as has happened in the UK and US in recent decades. There’s much greater gender inequality among 50 and 60 years olds in our own societies than there is among 25 year olds. And no, this isn’t solely the result of child bearing and rearing. It really was true that women had fewer career choices and less access to education 40 years ago than they do now. And some (please note, some) of that difference is reflected in the positions of those who were educated or not 40 years ago.”(more)

New Report Makes a Case: Build Your STEM Program Around Diversity and the Students Will Come

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“The statistics about the lack of women and girls interested in — or ultimately pursuing jobs in — science, engineering and other technical fields are well known but still startling: Women earn only 18 percent of engineering and computer science degrees and under-represented minority women, who make up 16 percent of the U.S. population, earn only 3 percent of engineering degrees and 5 percent of computer science degrees. The way to fix this, advocates say in a new white paper, is simple: Prioritize girls, particularly girls from underserved communities, from the first moments of designing a new STEM program.”(more)

Researchers tackle gender bias in STEM education

E-School News – Laura Devaney

“Researchers are tackling the stubborn question of how gender bias impacts STEM education. STEM education at the K-12 and university levels has seen its share of headlines, as industry experts and policymakers tout its importance in the nation’s economy and workforce. Despite the focus on engaging students in STEM education and encouraging them to pursue STEM majors in college, the STEM industry is still male-dominated. In fact, a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce study revealed that women hold approximately 50 percent of jobs in the country, but only fill just 25 percent of STEM jobs. That same study revealed that 17 of the top 20 highest-paying occupations require STEM skills.”(more)

Sexist bullying ‘can make bright girls feel unfeminine’

BBC – Judith Burns

“Girls feel they have to choose between being attractive or clever because of sexist name calling in schools, a teachers’ union leader has warned. It can lead to lessons “with boys talking and girls listening”, said Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Girls too often feel they are on a tightrope, Dr Bousted added. Students at both mixed sex and all-girls’ schools were internalising society’s views of women, she warned. “There are so many names girls can be called – far more than for boys,” said Dr Bousted, speaking ahead of the ATL’s annual conference in Liverpool next week where the issue will be discussed.”(more)

Next steps for building an inclusive STEM workforce

SmartBlog on Education – Mina Dixon

“What will it take to ignite a student’s interest in a science, technology, engineering or math field? And how can stakeholders encourage women – who make up close to 50% of the US workforce, but comprise less than 25% of the STEM labor pool, data suggest –to pursue these 21st-century jobs? Strategies to build a representative workforce include early access to STEM education, role models and real-world relevance, according to Kathy Hurley, CEO and co-founder of Girls Thinking Global…Good programs that are working to bridge the STEM gender gap often share common characteristics, Hurley suggested. They avoid jargon and highlight how STEM concepts are used to address global issues.”(more)

How female science, math teachers influence whether young women major in STEM fields

Journalist’s Resource – Kelly Peaton

“Jobs in STEM fields often are high paying and in high demand, which is why government leaders have been pressing colleges and universities to produce more STEM graduates…the reality is that far fewer women and minorities enter careers in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics…A January 2016 study published in Social Problems considers how teacher demographics could influence that effort…The authors state that female math and science teachers may help encourage interest among girls by pushing them to take risks and go against stereotypes and by raising their confidence in their abilities. They note the importance of focusing on students’ high school years to help boost the number of women entering STEM-related fields.”(more)