Although much progress has been made in recent decades, there are persistent hurdles to the advancement of women in the sciences. The "leaky pipeline" model describes the proportion of women "on track" to potentially becoming top scientists as falling off at every step of the way, from getting interested in science and math in elementary school, through doctorate, postdoc, and career steps.
In biology, for instance, women in the United States have been getting Master's degrees in the same numbers as men for two decades, yet fewer women get Ph.D.s; and the numbers of women P.I.s have not risen.
While many organizations target professional women, or young girls, no national organization focuses on the specific needs of female college and graduate students.
Why are there so few women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? The answer lies in our perceptions and unconscious beliefs about gender in mathematics and science. Luckily, stereotypes, bias, and other cultural beliefs can change; often the very act of identifying a stereotype or bias begins the process of dismantling it.
- American Association for University Women
The foundation for a STEM career is laid early in life, but scientists and engineers are made in colleges and universities. - AAUW.org
In 2015, only 17% of undergraduates enrolled in the UNLV College of Engineering were females. Only 19% of degrees conferred that year in Engineering were for female students. At a closer look, only 9 females (compared to the 30 males) earned a degree in Computer Science. Numbers follow the same trend in graduate school. Females accounted for 30% of graduate students who earned a degree from the College of Engineering in 2015.
In 2015, the UNLV College of Sciences had more female undergraduates enrolled than males (58% and 42% respectively). The Life Sciences Department had the highest proportion of females that earned degrees (115 total). But all other departments were deficient. Only 1 female earned a Physics degree in 2015. Only 7 females earned a degree in Mathematics in 2015. Females made up only 30% of graduate students who earned a degree under the College of Sciences.
SOURCE: data package on UNLV Facilities.
The UNLV Faculty Diversity Hiring program is designed to increase the diversity in the applicant pools of faculty searches, based on demographic goals and focused on the recruitment strategy of underrepresented faculty. In FY17 the university failed in its mission to hire more diverse faculty.
For the past 4 years since this program was initiated, more men having been applying compared to women (51% to 34.5% respectively).
Women in science and engineering fields have historically been underrepresented and continue to be underrepresented at UNLV. In FY17, women made up 15% of search pool applicants in the College of Engineering and 28% in the College of Sciences.
SOURCE: Faculty Diversity Hiring Program FY17 Campus Report