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Entropy 2019, 21(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/e21010030

Gender Diversity in STEM Disciplines: A Multiple Factor Problem

1
School of Engineering (ETSE-UV), Universitat de València, Av. De l’Universitat s/n, 46100 Valencia, Spain
2
Department of Didactics of Mathematics (Faculty of Teaching), Universitat de València, Av. Tarongers, 4, 46022 Valencia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 3 January 2019 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 4 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Information Theory 2018)
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Abstract

Lack of diversity, and specifically, gender diversity, is one of the key problems that both technological companies and academia are facing these days. Moreover, recent studies show that the number of female students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related disciplines have been decreasing in the last twenty years, while the number of women resigning from technological job positions remains unacceptably high. As members of a higher education institution, we foresee that working towards increasing and retaining the number of female students enrolled in STEM disciplines can help to alleviate part of the challenges faced by women in STEM fields. In this paper, we first review the main barriers and challenges that women encounter in their professional STEM careers through different age stages. Next, we focus on the special case of the information theory field, discussing the potential of gendered innovation, and whether it can be applied in the Information Theory case. The working program developed by the School of Engineering at the University of Valencia (ETSE-UV), Spain, which aims at decreasing the gender diversity gap, is then presented and recommendations for practice are given. This program started in 2011 and it encompasses Bachelor, Master and PhD levels. Four main actions are implemented: Providing institutional encouragement and support, increasing the professional support network, promoting and supporting the leadership, and increasing the visibility of female role models. To assess the impact of these actions, a chi-square test of independence is included to evaluate whether there is a significant effect on the percentage of enrolled female students. The percentage of graduated female students in the information and Communications Technology Field is also positioned with respect to other universities and the Spanish reference value. This analysis establishes that, in part, this program has helped to achieve higher female graduation rates, especially among Bachelor students, as well as increasing the number of top-decision positions held by faculty women. View Full-Text
Keywords: women in STEM; gendered innovation; gender diversity women in STEM; gendered innovation; gender diversity
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Botella, C.; Rueda, S.; López-Iñesta, E.; Marzal, P. Gender Diversity in STEM Disciplines: A Multiple Factor Problem. Entropy 2019, 21, 30.

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