A recent study by the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM), where females are performing as well as males and better than males in some math and science subjects, is worth reading by those who are looking for ways to tap women into SMET fields. “When gender perceptions and negative stereotypes towards women in mathematics and science are non-existent, the gender gap in performance seems to disappear. That’s the lesson to be learned from not just Finland, but also Puerto Rico where females are performing as well as males and better than males in some math and science subjects.” -Héctor Rosario, Math Professor at UPRM.
The Rosario-McGee study reaffirms one we did in 1998 in collaboration with University of Texas at El Paso trying to find why there are so many women in engineering at UPRM. In this all women women in engineering study-edited, we found that 40% of the women surveyed decided very early to go to college (in elementary or middle school), and 67% decided on engineering during their high school years. What encouraged them? Two basic reasons wre found, namely, becoming aware of engineering early on and the existence of role models.
- 55% of students had been involved in a non-traditional high school (HS) program
- 27% of all students had been involved in career day activities in HS
- 23% of the women had a family member that was an engineer
- 12% had a female friend who was an engineer
Women ARE indeed an untapped resource for competitive advantage. We bring half of the Earth’s perspectives on the world’s challenges and opportunities as well as our talent to solve problems!