This piece sets itself up as discussing the “five reasons” why we need more women and minorities in STEM fields. As it turns out, it doesn’t explore those reasons in any depth at all so its argument is not convincing. It does, however, make a few good points at the start.

From wuwm:

A lot has been written about the effort to attract more women and people of color to what’s known as the “STEM” fields - science, technology, engineering, and math. Leaders in all of those fields have spoken of the need to have a future workforce that better reflects the demographics of this country. But where do we actually stand in attracting students to STEM education?

A Wisconsin researcher has begun to get the discussion beyond the anecdotal and into the realm of quantifying the current state of things.

“The most recent data from the National Research Council in 2011 suggests that 9 percent of the college-educated STEM workforce are African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans, so again you can see (they’re) significantly underrepresented from their larger population,” says Dr. Angela Byars-Winston, an Associate Professor in the University of Wisconsin Department of Medicine in Madison.

She adds that only about 25 percent of STEM jobs among those who are college educated are women, even though they hold 50 percent of the total college degrees and constitute about 51 percent of the workforce. Byars-Winston has done extensive work in examining how cultural influences impact career choices - work that has attracted the attention of the White House, which honored her last year as a “Champion of Change.”

She says researchers are finding that the current efforts haven’t quite yielded the desired results. The general consensus is that the return on the federal government’s investment in broadening participation of underrepresented groups is not quite where they’d like it to be after 20-30 years of concerted investment,” she says.

[Read the rest: wuwm]