Stemming Inequality? Employment and Pay of Female and Minority Scientists and Engineers

TitleStemming Inequality? Employment and Pay of Female and Minority Scientists and Engineers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsOh, S. Soo, and G. B. Lewis
Secondary TitleThe Social Science Journal
ISBN Number0362-3319
KeywordsDiscrimination, Earnings of scientists and engineers, Women and minorities in science
Abstract

When white men overwhelmingly dominated the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) work force, the high pay in STEM occupations was a major source of gender and race inequality in the U.S. economy. As women, Blacks, and Latinos increasingly study STEM fields, new possibilities for achieving pay equality are opening. We test whether the reality matches the promise using two large data sets. Analysis of a five percent Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) of the 2000 Census and the 2001–06 American Community Surveys shows that women and minorities earn more, relative to comparable white men, in STEM than in non-STEM fields. This general pattern persists in analysis of a 1% sample of federal personnel records, which include better measures of work experience and education. Thus, federal efforts to increase the representativeness of the STEM workforce should increase pay equality in the economy by moving women and minorities into traditionally high-paying fields.