Lost in the Numbers: Gender Equity Discourse and Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

TitleLost in the Numbers: Gender Equity Discourse and Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsTorres, LE
JournalInternational Journal of Science in Society
Date Published2012
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number18366236
KeywordsCRITICAL , equity , Feminist , gender , Intersectionality , National , Patriarchy , RACE , SCIENCE , SOCIAL , STEM , Women
AbstractThe National Science Foundation (NSF) documented an increase of 29.1% in female Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from 1976 to 2008. Yet, there has been no growth in the number of female science faculty at postsecondary institutions such as Iowa State University (ISU). From 1993 to 2003, science departments at ISU hired men and Whites 63% and 78% of the time, respectively. Similarly, 16% of women typically resigned after three years versus 4% of men (Litt & Debinski, 2004). In 2006, ISU applied for and received NSF funding to create an ADVANCE Program meant to respond to this lack of gender equity and to promote institutional change. Using feminist theory, I conducted a critical discourse analysis of ISU ADVANCE documents and website to examine the language used to discuss gender equity and women of color. Connected through the interlocking systems of capitalism, patriarchy, and racism, the following themes were revealed: 1) the political economy of equity and diversity in STEM; (2) the maintenance of male dominance and the general status quo; and (3) the "universal woman" and the normalization of Whiteness. Here, I focus on the interlocking themes of patriarchy and racism and demonstrate how these systems effectively remove women of color from the discourse of equity in STEM. 
NotesTorres, Lisette E. 1; Affiliation: 1: Iowa State University, USA; Source Info: 2012, Vol. 3 Issue 4, p33; Subject Term: GENDER inequality; Subject Term: WOMEN of color; Subject Term: STEM education; Subject Term: CRITICAL discourse analysis; Subject Term: INTERSECTIONALITY (Social sciences); Subject Term: SOCIAL conditions; Author-Supplied Keyword: Critical Discourse Analysis; Author-Supplied Keyword: Equity; Author-Supplied Keyword: Feminist Theory; Author-Supplied Keyword: Gender; Author-Supplied Keyword: Intersectionality; Author-Supplied Keyword: Patriarchy; Author-Supplied Keyword: Race; Author-Supplied Keyword: Science; Author-Supplied Keyword: STEM; Author-Supplied Keyword: Women of Color; Company/Entity: NATIONAL Science Foundation (U.S.); Number of Pages: 13p; Document Type: Article