Jan 20 @ 12:30 pm

LSC 600

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

The purpose of this study is to examine the conditions contributing to the underrepresentation of female leaders in the STEM education system. This research will take the form of a qualitative phenomenological study to explore the lived experiences of women in STEM, being representative of different fields of science across the state of Colorado. Underrepresentation remains 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 the lived experiences of women with their own voices. This study will focus on the adolescent recollections of self-efficacy experiences of women in STEM and their influence of persistence in their given field. Bandura (1986), acknowledges the higher sense of self-efficacy reflects how the increased effort of the persistent underrepresentation of women remains a mystery despite the growing number of STEM programs to promote and ignite the interests among girls. According to Leblanc (2018), “When women are missing from the ranks, they are missing in leadership. This means young women and entry-level employees are missing a female role model manager. Having women in leadership helps bring in other women; it naturally builds a network creating gender diversity” (p. 1).

Final Defense – Carletta Stewart