Final Defense – Carletta Stewart

Underrepresentation of Female STEM leaders: The Impact of Adolescent Self-Efficacy Upon Career/ Field Persistence

Friday, December 13 @10:30

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The purpose of this study was to examine the conditions contributing to the underrepresentation of female leaders in STEM education. This research took the form of a qualitative phenomenological study to explore the lived experiences of Women in STEM, representative of different fields of science across the state of Colorado. Underrepresentation remain relevant despite the increase of women degree holders. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, “women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half the workforce and half of college-educated workforce” (Noonan, 2017, p. 2). Literature has chronicled underrepresentation as both systemic and systematic (e.g., lack of role models, science literacy, familial, and teachers). Obstacles faced by Women in STEM have traditionally been quantified, rather than qualifying the lived experiences of women with voices.
This study focused on adolescent recollections of self-efficacy experiences of Women in STEM and their persistence in their given field. Bandura (1986), acknowledges the higher sense of self-efficacy reflects the increased effort of persistence. Underrepresentation of women remains a mystery despite the growing number of STEM programs to promote and ignite the interests among girls.