Women in STEM: How to Close the Gender Gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
Diversity in tech has improved in recent years, but there is still a large gender gap in STEM professions. Women take up a much smaller percentage of the workforce in technology and science-related fields than their male counterparts. To reduce this inequality, various institutions offer scholarships to women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Organizations have stepped up to provide unique programs and scholarship opportunities to get more women in STEM fields. There are coding bootcamps that are exclusive to women. Black women, Latinx, and gender non-conforming and LGBTQ+ people are gaining access to the education they deserve to qualify for various STEM careers.
Women in STEM Statistics: How Many Women Are in STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, all disciplines historically dominated by men. A 2021 report by the Census Bureau of the United States shows that only 27 percent of STEM workers are women. Data from Catalyst tells us that women in the US made up only 29% of people in science and engineering occupations in 2017. Unfortunately, this trend is pervasive worldwide, as the same data shows that women only represent 29.3 percent of the global science and research careers.
Additionally, the report by the Census Bureau shows that women thrive in social science and life and physical sciences, but there is little to no growth in their representation in computer and engineering occupations. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that women make up only 25.2 percent of computer and mathematical occupations.
How Many Women Are in Computer Science?
Women represent only 25 percent of workers in computer science-related careers, according to a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center. The same study shows that women are less likely than men to be encouraged to study computer science during university and therefore are less likely to pursue a STEM major.
In the 2017-2018 school year, women accounted for only 19 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees, 29 percent of master’s degrees, and about 23 percent of computer science doctorates.
Similarly, a 2016 study by the National Science Foundation (NSF) showed that only 19 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women. This is a six percent decrease from the 27 percent figure in 1997. The ratio of women to men in STEM undergraduate degrees is directly connected to the gender gap in STEM careers.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) reveals the key factors causing gender gaps in STEM. At a young age, girls suffer from a lack of confidence in their math abilities and other STEM subjects due to negative stereotypes and lack of mentorship. Later in life, STEM careers often perpetuate male-dominated cultures that exclude women.
Additionally, there are fewer female role models in STEM. While many women such as Edie Windsor and Ada Lovelace made huge strides in the field, the most famous figures in the world of STEM are men.
Top 5 Bootcamps for Women Learning to Code
To close the gender gap in STEM fields, women can take advantage of opportunities like scholarships and fellowships to gain the necessary skills and knowledge. One great option is attending coding bootcamps, some of which are exclusively for women. You do not need a college education to learn to code and gain software engineering skills. Read below to learn more about the best coding bootcamps for women.
- Cost: $24,000
- Program Length: 23 weeks
- Cost: $19,350
- Program Length: 12 weeks
- Cost: $13,980 – $17,910
- Program Length: 13 to 26 weeks
Meanwhile, the cyber security program provides you with the all the essentials and foundational knowledge in information security. For example, you will learn penetration testing and ethical hacking. Finally, the data analytics program will improve your visualization skills using SQL, Python, and Tableau.
- Cost: $17,910
- Program Length: 17 weeks
- Cost: $12,900 to $16,895
- Program Length: 12 to 26 weeks
Hackbright Academy is a competitive bootcamp for women and non-binary software engineers. The first module of the software engineering program covers the basics, such as commands and algorithms. The second module is all about data structures and application programming interfaces (APIs). In the last module, you will learn HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap.
Coding Bootcamp Scholarships for Women in Tech
Coding bootcamps make STEM subjects accessible to women and provide a network of resources and a supportive community. With the accelerated curricula of coding bootcamps, the percentage of women in STEM careers is likely to increase.
To encourage women’s participation, coding bootcamps and partner organizations often provide scholarships. These coding bootcamp scholarships often target women of color, including Black women, Asian women, multiracial women, and Latinx.
1. Alchemy Code Lab – WWCode Portland & Alchemy
- Scholarship Amount: $2,500
Alchemy Code Lab, in partnership with Women Who Code Portland, launched the WWCode Portland & Alchemy scholarship. This $2,500 scholarship is awarded to only two women per cohort. You must be admitted to the program before you can qualify for the scholarship.
2. Codesmith – Women’s Scholarship, Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship
- Scholarship Amount: Not specified for Women’s Scholarship; the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship covers up to 50% for the Immersive Program and up to 100% for the CS Prep
Codesmith awards a scholarship for anyone who identifies as a woman, though the amount is not specified. It also has the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship, awarded in partnership with Lesbians Who Tech. Two Edie Windsor Coding Scholarships are awarded, covering up to 50 percent tuition for the immersive program and up to 100 percent for the prep course.
3. DigitalCrafts – You Belong In Tech
- Scholarship Amount: $1,000 (part-time program), $1,500 (full-time program)
DigitalCrafts is committed to ensuring that women, including women of color and other underrepresented groups, have access to technology education. As such, DigitalCrafts provides $1,000 scholarships to students in the part-time program. Full-time students can apply for a $1,500 scholarship.
4. Flatiron School – Access Scholarship, Women Take Tech
- Scholarship Amount: $3,000
Flatiron School offers two $3,000 scholarship opportunities to ambitious women. To qualify for either the Access Scholarship or the Women Take Tech scholarships you need to be earning below a certain income threshold that changes according to your location.
5. Fullstack Academy – Edie Windsor Scholarship, Ada Lovelace Scholarship, Veterans
- Scholarship Amount: 50% of tuition (Edie Windsor Scholarship), $1,000 (Veterans and Ada Lovelace Scholarship)
The Edie Windsor Scholarship covers 50 percent of tuition for gender non-conforming individuals and LGBTQ+ women. Meanwhile, the Ada Lovelace Scholarship provides a $1,000 scholarship for students who identify as women. Finally, the Veterans scholarships provides $1,000 in financial assistance to military and vet women.
6. Grace Hopper Program – Edie Windsor Scholarship, Ada Lovelace Scholarship, Veterans
- Scholarship Amount: 50% of tuition (Edie Windsor Scholarship), $1,000 (Veterans and Ada Lovelace Scholarship)
The Grace Hopper Program is part of Fullstack Academy, so the same scholarship opportunities are available: the Edie Windsor Scholarship, the Ada Lovelace Scholarship, and the Veterans scholarship.
7. General Assembly – See Her Excel
- Scholarship Amount: $1,500
Inspired by Ada Lovelace’s efforts to see for more women in STEM, General Assembly offers the See Her Excel scholarhip. You can apply for the scholarship as soon as you get accepted into the immersive program. This scholarship is available in any General Assembly location around the world.
8. Hackbright Academy – Hackbright Phenomenal Woman Scholarship, Quip Diversity Scholarship
- Scholarship Amount: 50% of tuition (Phenomenal Woman Scholarship), $1,000 – $5,000 (Quip Diversity Scholarship)
The Phenomenal Woman Scholarship pays half of the tuition for two women, or gender diverse people, who demonstrate strong tech skills and critical thinking. The Quip Diversity Scholarship, which awards $1,000 to $5,000, aims to encourage the representation of women in STEM, especially, Black women, Latinx, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities.
9. Ironhack – Ironhack Scholarship
- Scholarship Amount: $1,700 – $4,800
Ironhack has partnered with bunq to provide scholarships to close the gender STEM gap. Scholarships range from $1,700 to $4,800 depending on the country and city where you choose to study. Scholarship winners are chosen based on their coding and logic skills and motivation to learn.
10. Thinkful – Web Development Scholarship for Women
- Scholarship Amount: $600 (Flexible Web Development Bootcamp), $1,200 (Full-Time Web Development Bootcamp)
Thinkful offers $600 scholarships for self-identifying women who enroll in its web development program. If you sign up for the full-time program, you will be eligible for the $1,200 scholarship.
Why We Need More Women in STEM
Data by the National Science Foundation shows that the number of women receiving bachelor’s degrees and doctaorates in computer science has actually decreased since 1997. It is important to keep tabs on gender stereotypes so that when women do decide to earn STEM degrees, they are not hampered by traditional gender norms.
According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), breaking biases will encourage female students to feel safe and develop confidence in math. Importantly, women who take up STEM careers could be the role models for the upcoming generation. They could be instrumental in helping young girls develop confidence in their math abilities to succeed in technical fields and realize their true potential.
Luckily, there are numerous scholarships for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In this article, we’ve shown you some of them with the hope of inspiring more women to pursue degrees in STEM fields and embark on the exciting journey that is a career in tech.
Women in STEM FAQ
What percentage of women are in STEM careers?
According to a 2021 study by the Census Bureau, only 27 percent of the STEM workforce in the US are women. This is supported by another study from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that shows that only 25.2 percent of computer and mathematical jobs are held by women.
Who are the famous women in STEM?
Some of the famous historical women in STEM are Edie Windsor, who was a technology manager at IBM, and Ada Lovelace, a mathematician. Many computer science scholarships for women are named after these famous individuals. Current students in STEM will often hear about the accomplishments of these women in their classes.
How much do STEM women make?
A study by the Pew Research Center shows that STEM jobs pay $77,400 on average. However, for female STEM workers specifically, that figure drops to $66,200, just 74 percent of what men on similar positions earn on average. Though women have seen some gains in STEM occupations, there is still a long way to go.
How many women graduate from computer science and other STEM courses?
According to the National Science Foundation, only 19 percent of computer science majors that received a bachelor’s degree in 2016 were women. About 24 percent of people who earned a doctorate in engineering were women. At both the bachelor’s and master’s levels, women represented about 40 percent of students who earned degrees in mathematics and statistics.