by Hazel Garcia, InvestmentZen
As countries around the world make strides toward gender equality, the United States still finds itself near the bottom of the civilized pack. Countries like Denmark continue to improve in such fundamental ways as narrowing the gender pay gap, while the U.S. still shows massive discrepancies in the gender ratio in the professional workplace. Many professional women still find themselves scraping for a few extra dollars, trying to maintain the same income standard as their male counterparts.
JUST Capital, in its survey of the American people, has learned that equal opportunity is essential to just business behavior, with 92 percent of Americans agreeing that companies should not discriminate in hiring and promotion practices. Despite our nation’s general consensus, most American companies fall behind, with technically advanced fields particularly lagging.
Specifically, STEM professional careers, the ratio in every single state slants heavily toward male dominance, representing a continuing problem in our culture’s professional and social perceptions of women in such advanced fields.
As a woman, I can of course relate to this personally. I believe most women understand what it means to be underrepreasented at times. As a writer, I wanted to dig deep and find out which areas were affected most by this disparity within the STEM community.
The regional variances in this gender gap also bring up some interesting questions. Why do certain areas of the U.S. show substantially higher rates of male-preferential hiring in the advanced professional industries? In Utah, for example, for every woman working in STEM, there are 4.5 men. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Maryland, with 2.1 men working in STEM for each woman.
The gender gap perpetuates not only increased bias in the hiring practices themselves, but may also contribute in subtle, but significant, ways toward discouraging young women from pursuing advanced science and technology degrees in the first place. Despite this, the numbers show a steady increase in the number of women pursuing degrees in STEM fields. Most of these women eagerly seek to break into their field of choice and dig out from under piles of student loan debt.
With women regularly entering the STEM workforce, companies have a unique opportunity to recognize and benefit from this largely untapped group of highly skilled and qualified candidates. Take a look at the infographic here, and see how your state ranks in the struggle toward gender equality.
Hazel Garcia is a writer and graphic designer for InvestmentZen, a blog platform that shares inspirational stories & actionable insights from people who have found a way to make money work for them, so you can do the same.