The Field of STEM to Students: Summary

By Lisa Banti

Many students have answered this questionnaire, supplying us with the information necessary to form a reliable analysis.

The vast majority of female students responded that they are aware of the problem gender prejudice poses to work environments all over the world. A less significant number of male students – although still over half – answered that they also know of the issue. The sample number of non-binary participants is too small. Their answers are less varied and tend to shift to one of two extremes: ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

Some students (39%), of all genders, think that men are favored over women in the workplace; though the option of equal favor to both genders overrides this last one. With the result of 56% as total average, all genders think that men and women are equally favored in the work place. These two contrasting results give us insight. The students of our generation welcome change – from the traditional, selective men-only professions, to the almost equal treatment of both genders in the work place – by following new, more equalitarian guidelines, and not the socially imposed ones surrounding women. Female students are more concerned for their professional future. The majority answered that they are preoccupied that this prejudice will also apply to them and influence them in their future workplace. More than half of the female respondents (62%) say that they have heard of and/or seen this discrimination happen in the STEM work and study environment. Contrarily, the majority of male students (58%) say that they have not heard of it. The difference in awareness of this issue concerns mainly the gender of the person concerned. Female students are overly aware of the uncomfortable and most times unjustifiable, rumors and happenings around gender prejudice. They keep with them the knowledge that discrimination is an undeniable fact that will continue onto their work place, just as it does in everyday life. As we can deduct from the replies to these answers, men are not so conscious of gender discrimination in any environment, work or daily life.

The question which answers were largely uniform, asks if there is a difference in treatment between the genders at the work place. The total average of 81% answered ‘yes’, answering the commonly asked question of ‘am I being treated unjustly and no one has noticed? Or have they chosen not to notice?’. These students do notice the differences in treatment. They have seen gender discrimination in movies, books, news as well as social life, and they have learned how to recognize it. The differential treatment could be minimal, but it still counts as discrimination brought about only because of continuous ideals and stereotypes regarding gender.

Let us keep in mind that all the schools that have responded to the survey teach STEM studies.

Around 70% of all genders wish to continue their studies in the STEM sector throughout University, to then progress to a STEM-based profession. A high average of female students (85%) say that they want to go to University. This average is higher even than the men’s (76%), who also wish to enroll. 64% of non-binary respondents also wish to go to University. More than half of the students are interested to pursue STEM studies in University. The ones who do not wish to study STEM disciplines in University answered that they have other interests.

Overall, the respondents consider that STEM subjects are harder than non-STEM subjects, but they pay off better for the future of the student. Chances of obtaining a job increase in the STEM sector because people with that area of expertise are regarded highly and are considered to contribute greatly to society. Though most students wish to follow STEM studies and professions, some regard other disciplines with interest instead.

Although the survey contains many questions, the results never varied too much from the common answer all genders gave for each of the questions. Mainly, in the sectors ‘STEM, work and gender prejudice’ and ‘future’ did the answers vary based on the gender of the respondents.