Women in STEM: Family-Related Challenges and Initiatives Chapter uri icon


  • Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015. Despite relatively equal proportions of boys and girls enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses during grade school, women are significantly underrepresented in STEM degrees and occupations. Advances in STEM are critical to our nations health and security, and diversification of the STEM workforce is believed to enhance the creativity, innovation, and quality of STEM contributions. Although a wide-range of factors contribute to the leaky pipeline, work-family issues have been cited as a primary issue for women in STEM fields. This chapter (1) briefly reviews gender-related theories used to explain underrepresentation of women in STEM, (2) summarizes some of the empirical evidence of work-family challenges that STEM women in academia and industry experience, (3) presents some new data about the importance of childcare to STEM womens academic careers, and (4) identifies various initiatives, including family-friendly policies and practices, that have been implemented to alleviate work-family challenges and in turn retain women in STEM.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Jean, V. A., Payne, S. C., & Thompson, R. J.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Jean, Vanessa A||Payne, Stephanie C||Thompson, Rebecca J

Book Title

  • Gender and the Work-Family Experience

publication date

  • January 2015