Half of women in STEM jobs experience discrimination, says Pew

A Pew Research Center report highlights just how prevalent gender discrimination and harassment are in STEM fields.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
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Erin Carson
2 min read
Discrimination is more common in science, technology, engineering, and math, according to the Pew Research Center.

Discrimination is more common in science, technology, engineering, and math, according to the Pew Research Center. 

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc./Getty Images

Fully half of all women working in science, technology, engineering and math fields have experienced gender discrimination, according to a new survey

The survey on diversity in STEM, conducted by the Pew Research Center, also found that women are more likely to experience discrimination if they work in majority-men environments, work with computers, or have a postgraduate degree.

"Discrimination and sexual harassment are seen as more frequent, and gender is perceived as more of an impediment than an advantage to career success," the authors of the Pew report said.

Pew surveyed 4,914 adults in the US, 2,344 of whom work in STEM jobs. The survey results come at a time when more and more women are becoming vocal about their experiences with sexual harassment and discrimination, but Pew conducted the poll several months before a wave of sexual harassment accusations took down prominent men from Hollywood to Washington.

Though issues of gender inequality aren't confined to one industry, Pew found the problem is worst in STEM fields. In STEM, 50 percent of women reported discrimination, compared with 41 percent in non-STEM jobs. Twenty-two percent of women reported harassment in STEM fields, and the percentage was the same in non-STEM fields.

The survey reported men in STEM were less likely than women to think sexual harassment was a problem where they work. The survey found 28 percent of men saw harassment as a problem at their workplace versus 36 percent of women.

The survey also touched on non-gender diversity in STEM, highlighting data from diversity reports released by tech giants. The numbers of blacks and Hispanics employed in the STEM field is lower than in non-STEM jobs. Pew found black STEM workers report experiencing discrimination more than other minorities -- 62 percent versus 42 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of Asians. Only 37 percent of black STEM workers feel they're treated fairly when it comes to opportunities and promotions in the workplace.

STEM jobs are some of the fastest-growing, highest paying jobs out there. The report notes that representation in STEM jobs has an impact on the money workers make. Or don't make.