And yet according to some data that I recently discovered from several sources, there might not be such a shortage of women in STEM after all, at least overall. In fact, according to several measures, women are actually slightly over-represented in STEM graduate programs and earn a majority of STEM college degrees. A lot depends on how we define “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)” and that definition is fairly fluid and subject to various interpretations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics “The definition of STEM can vary, depending on the group using it.”
1. The table above displays data on total graduate school enrollment in 2017 from the most recent annual report from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) on “Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2007 to 2017” (see Table B.13). If the CGS category “Health and Medical Sciences” is included as a STEM field (e.g., graduate degrees in Nursing, Kinesiology, Occupational Therapy, Health Sciences, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nutrition Sciences, Environmental Health, Audiology, etc., see Appendix D “Taxonomy of Fields of Study”) there are slightly more women currently enrolled in STEM graduate programs (335,346) in the US (master’s and doctoral degrees) than men (326,846).