Women Of Color Lead Gender Equality In STEM Education
Latina women have closed the gender gap in technical college-entrance exams, and African American women outnumber men 3-to-2 in those exams. After decades of research showcasing women of color behind both men of color and White women, new UC Berkeley research highlights encouraging data in which women of color are making progress in STEM education.
The UC Berkeley analysis showcased these two groundbreaking trends utilizing Advanced-Placement (AP) college-entrance exams in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Among African American students, AP STEM exams taken by women represented the overwhelming majority over men. Among Latinx students, the number of men and women was roughly equal; nationally, women took 66,382exams and, men took 66,703 exams per year.
The research, conducted by Nobel-prize-winning author Dr. Daniel Kammen, Dr. Caroline Harper, and researcher Vanessa Thompson, presents patterns that are surprising given that women of color have continued to be alarmingly underrepresented in many STEM fields. Both of these trends of gender equality showcase strengths among African American and Latinx AP students that could translate to insights for increased gender equity in other STEM contexts.
I sat down with Dr. Caroline Harper and Vanessa Thompson recently to discuss their work and findings. Watch full interview here.
Rhett Power: Can you tell us about some of the exciting results from your research, some of the highlights you think are important?
Vanessa Thompson: "We've found that Latina women have closed the gender gap in technical college entrance exams, and African American women outnumber African American men three to two in those same exams.