THE GENDER GAP IN SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, TECHNOLOGY & MATHEMATICS: UNFOLDING TRADITIONAL MINDSETS
University of St. Joseph (MACAO)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Although considerable improvements have been made during the last decades to close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the current global indicators suggest that males continue to outnumber females in these fields of knowledge. Existing studies based on several countries advanced that factors influencing girls’ choices in pursuing STEM degrees range from family support to attainment of math skills and lack of positive female role-models in science.
Examining the latest statistical indicators for education acquired by DSEC (Education and Youth Affairs Bureau of Macau) one finds that Macau is by no means an exceptional place with regard to the under-representation of women in STEM fields of study. According to the above official indicators, the disparity between genders is especially noticeable in the Physical Sciences and Mathematics.
This paper aims to analyze the existing pipeline in enrolments of college-age women in STEM majors in Macau as well as understand the reasons behind this phenomenon. It uses interviews as the main tool to gather direct data as to the factors that exuded a greater influence on the female students’ career decision, and compare it with the existing international literature. Finally, we also seek to increase awareness of gender issues in STEM careers in Macau, a topic that is seldomly discussed locally, and for which deeper research is required.
Keywords: STEM, science education, Macau, gender gap, women.