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ERIC Number: ED556728
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 45
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 78
ISBN: 978-1-878428-08-0
Increasing Opportunities for Low-Income Women and Student Parents in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at Community Colleges. Report #C388
Costello, Cynthia B.
Institute for Women's Policy Research
Drawing on a literature and program review, analysis of publicly available data, and consultations with experts in the field, this report examines opportunities for women and student parents to pursue and succeed in STEM fields at community colleges. Findings include the following: (1) Women with associate's degrees earn only 77 percent of what men earn, in part because of the different fields that men and women pursue, with men more likely to go into STEM fields. Women hold only about one in four STEM jobs. Given that many STEM occupations require advanced degrees or certificates beyond a high school diploma, increasing the proportion of women in STEM jobs requires that more women pursue STEM degrees and certificates at all points along the postsecondary pipeline--including associate's, baccalaureate, and advanced graduate degrees. (2) The proportion of women awarded subbaccalaureate degrees and certificates in STEM disciplines is declining, dropping from 33.8 percent in 1997 to 27.5 percent in 2007. Pursuing fields of study aligned with future careers in STEM fields can provide an important pathway to economic security for student parents and their families, while contributing to the future competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Reversing current trends in women's pursuit of STEM subbaccalaureate degrees and certificates will require community colleges to proactively recruit and retain female students. Research is needed to explore the factors that encourage low-income women and student parents to enter and succeed in STEM fields at community colleges, and supporting the community college pathway to STEM careers for low-income women and other disadvantaged students will require stronger public policies ranging from financial support and child care programs to protections against gender discrimination and new federal investments in STEM programs. [This report is a product of IWPR's Student Parent Success Initiative.]
Institute for Women's Policy Research. 1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-833-4362; Fax: 202-785-5100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR)