Equity in STEM
College and Career Readiness Report Shows Distinct Gender Gap
- By Kate Lucariello
and career readiness company YouScience
has released its “Post
Graduation Readiness Report Part II,” which reveals
that while 44% of female high school students showed aptitude for
careers in architecture and engineering, they showed 0% interest in
them when interest-based, instead of aptitude-based, tools were used
to gauge student talents, abilities, and pathways.
tools reflect primarily what the student already knows, while
aptitude measures surface known and unknown talents that are less
recognized and can surprise students, teachers, and parents,”
YouScience said in its report, “Career
Insights: Women, STEM, and the Talent Shortage.”
Researchers also noted that because female students are not
encouraged to consider engineering and technology careers, lack of
knowledge in these choices translates to lack of interest.
college readiness survey was done on over 500 high school seniors
nationwide graduating between 2019 and 2022. Part
I of the report, released in November 2022, showed
that 75% of all graduates were not ready to make college and career
decisions, even though graduation rates were up to 86%. Of those, 57%
reported five or fewer conversations with teachers or counselors
about opportunities following graduation, and 80% felt they “would
have been more engaged in their learning if they better understood
their own aptitudes and potential career opportunities.”
findings from Part II of the report revealed:
Sixty percent of female high school graduates reported not being
exposed to a wide enough variety of options for college and career
versus less than 30% of males.
More male graduates (78%) also reported having a conversation with a
teacher or school counselor about post-high school opportunities
than female graduates (63%).
Forty-five percent of males feel that they are in a job that they
like or that is putting them on a good career path compared to 27%
Sixty-eight percent of males are where they want to be in their
education or career path compared to 57% of females.
Only 50% of females reported knowing that CTE (career technical
education) courses were available versus 70% of males that were
aware of them.
“This signals the importance to work collectively to reduce gaps
and expose students to more career pathways,” YouScience noted in
the executive summary. In the “Career Insights” report, the
company said, “Women have the natural talent for today’s
in-demand STEM jobs…. Female students have a high aptitude for
YouScience currently serves over 7,000 educational and career
institutions and provides an integrated college and career readiness
platform that delivers aptitude-based assessments, personalized
career guidance, and industry-recognized certifications, based on
research and industry input. Visit
the home page to learn more.
Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.