Research Article

Understanding why women are under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) within Higher Education: a regional case study

Michael Christie; Maureen O’Neill; Kerry Rutter; Graham Young; Angeline Medland

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Abstract: Participation rates of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is comparatively low and their attrition rates high. An obvious solution is to attract more women to study such subjects. In 2016 the authors undertook research to find out why so few women enrolled in STEM subjects and investigate ways of increasing their recruitment and retention in this area. The informants in our study were enrolled in a tertiary preparation course as well as nursing and education programs. A critique of the literature was used to develop a survey that informed focus group and interview schedules which were used in collecting data. Our study found that many of the factors that hindered women from applying for STEM courses twenty years ago still apply today and recommends actions that can help increase recruitment of women into STEM and assist their retention and graduation in those areas of tertiary education.


Diversity in STEM, Sustainability in STEM, Gender Balance


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