Originally published September 20, 2012 at 11:28 a.m., updated September 20, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.
Peggy Johnson, Executive VP and President of Global Market Development, Qualcomm
Nancy Taylor, Director of Science, San Diego County Office of Education
Convergence Women, Technology & Innovation
A recent U.S. Department of Commerce report finds that women are vastly underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce, as well as among STEM degree holders. This, despite women making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce.
Women hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.
Qualcomm's annual QWISE outreach event today showcases programs that promote and encourage women's participation in science fields around the world.
The event will feature "speed-mentoring" booths to link up students with local science and engineering mentors. It will also recruit more mentors for the program.
Having more women in the STEM workforce could benefit both the U.S. economy and women themselves. Even as the U.S. continues to struggle with high unemployment, science and engineering jobs often go unfilled. Women with STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs. As a result, the gender/wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.
The Department of Commerce cites many possible factors as contributing to the low number of women in STEM jobs, including a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields.