WHER Chat: Gender Gaps in STEM Across the World


Burgandy Basulto is a Content Writer at NAWRB. She has a bachelor’s degree in both English and Philosophy, and a master’s degree in Philosophy. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves running, kickboxing, watching films, trying new restaurants she finds via Yelp, and experiencing other cultures during her travels.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), median annual earnings for women in STEM fields are $64,000 versus $78,000 for men, and women are only three in 10 of STEM workers. There is a discernible gender gap certain high-tech jobs in the United States. For instance, women accounted for less than 20 percent of those employed in these positions in 2017. In particular, women made up 18.7 percent of software developers, applicants and systems software positions; 4.2 percent of computer network architects; and 8.9 percent of aerospace engineers. 

A similar situation is happening in the European Union, where women accounted for  32.6 percent of those employed in high-tech manufacturing and knowledge-intensive high-tech services in 2017. Despite these large gender gaps in high technology, women in Europe are beginning to narrow the gap in science and engineering. For instance, in 2017, women made up 40.5 percent of scientists and engineers, an increase of more than 28 percent from ten years ago. 

Some countries are making a concerted effort to increase women’s representation in STEM occupations. Japan’s government, for example, set targets to grow women’s representation in science research to 20 percent and in engineering to 15 percent. As of March 2017, only 15.7 percent of Japan’s science researchers and engineers were women. 

Women’s representation in leadership positions is lower in STEM compared to other industries. According to Catalyst, when compared to other STEM and non-STEM industries, the information technology industry had the lowest representation of women in leadership roles in 2017. Over a quarter of the companies surveyed, 28.5 percent  did not have any women on their boards, and only 18 percent had three or more women on their boards. 

Women with a technology background are likely to have an advantage in attaining board positions, however. In 2016, women on corporate boards were almost twice as likely as male board members—16 percent compared to 9 percent— to have professional technology experience in Forbes Global 2000 companies list. 

Even when women achieve high-paying STEM jobs, some still earn less than their male counterparts. In Canada, women who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in STEM earned 82.1 percent of what men earned. Women in the European Union working in professional, scientific and technical positions earned 73.4 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2014. This discrepancy still exists after more than 30 years of equal pay legislation in Europe. 

Although they earn less than their male counterparts, women working in STEM typically receive a high premium in the field. For instance, they tend to earn 35 percent more than women in non-STEM jobs and 40 percent more than men in non-STEM jobs. 

About 2019 NAWRB WHER

The 2019 NAWRB Women Housing Ecosystem Report (WHER) is the third installment of the most diverse coverage of the Housing Ecosystem with over sixty resources in six volumes: Diversity & Inclusion, Homeownership, Women-Owned Businesses, STEM, Aging Population, and Family Offices with a gender lens perspective. Learn more about each of the volumes and order a copy of the 2019 NAWRB WHER at https://www.nawrb.com/womenhousingecosystem/.

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