Date of Award

Spring 2014

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Welki


This paper explores the different variables which may motivate females to choose STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors. Historically, women have been greatly underrepresented in STEM fields for a number of different cultural and economic reasons. However, in order to fully compete in the global economy, the United States must find a way to bolster female participation in these fields. The motivators chosen to explore in this paper are: female faculty numbers, federal financial obligations, early concentration in math, SAT math scores, appropriations through the Women’s Educational Equity Act, average salary for STEM occupations, and female unemployment rates. The study found that all variables except federal financial obligations and the female unemployment rate had the expected sign and were statistically significant. The paper proposes that in order to create a more complete model for predicting the number of female STEM majors, cultural trends and attitudes should be considered.

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