There have been many movements and talks about encouraging women to pursue studies in STEM fields. According to The Science and Engineering indicators for 2014, there are very few women working in the STEM field, which comprises to around 28 percent of employed science and engineering professionals.
There have been a lot of effort focused on encouraging women to study STEM fields, but why is there gender discrepancy in STEM? Studies have shown that the general population still perceives women to be incompatible with science professions. If more women would be exposed to the field of science, this may change the stereotypical perception of the majority.
According to a study published by Linda Carli, a senior lecturer in psychology at Wellesley College, people viewed women as having communal characteristics, like being caring and giving. Men on the other hands have traits like competitiveness and courageousness.
“Common cultural stereotypes about women, men, and scientists lead people to see women as incompatible with science,” Carli said. “Men are especially prone to this bias, but everyone shares it. This may result in prejudice (a dislike of female scientists compared with men) and discrimination against them.”