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Gender gap in science and technology jobs persists, report says

August 3, 2011 |  2:04 pm

Google The deficit of women in science and technology endures, even though they tend to earn far more than their counterparts in other fields, according to the Commerce Department.

The fact that female scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technology honchos have been sorely lacking for the past decade is no surprise. Researchers from the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration point to pervasive gender stereotyping, the absence of role models and the rarity of positions with flexibility for families as potential causes.

Although 48% of the country’s workforce is female, just 24% of women go into science and technology industries. The gender represents 40% of science employees, but makes up just 14% of workers in engineering, which has 330,000 women and more than 2 million men.

But those female employees earned about $31 an hour compared with the $19 an hour earned by women in other sectors. Men in science and technology fields draw about $36 an hour.

The percentage of college-educated women in the workforce has increased over the past decade, but they are severely underrepresented among degree-holders in science, math, technology and especially engineering. The few who do earn such degrees tend to enter unrelated industries such as education or healthcare.

“We haven’t done as well as we could to encourage young people to go into [science and technology] jobs –- particularly women –- which inhibits American innovation,” Rebecca Blank, acting Secretary of Commerce, said in a statement.


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Photo: Google employees have lunch at the technology company's Irvine office. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times