This is the VOA Special English Education Report, from http://voaspecialenglish.com Two new studies have investigated why fewer females, compared to males, study and work in the so called STEM subjects in the United States. Those subjects are science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The American Association of University Women examined existing research. Its report, called Why So Few?, also suggested ways to interest more girls and women in the STEM fields. The researchers found that cultural and environmental factors make a difference. Researcher Christianne Corbett says more boys than girls score very high on math tests in most countries. She says Iceland and Thailand are exceptions. In those countries, more girls than boys scored above the ninety-ninth percentile in math. The other study was carried out by the Campos company for the Bayer Corporation in the United States. It asked more than one thousand women and minority members of the American Chemical Society about their experiences. Seventy-seven percent said not enough women and minorities are working in STEM professions today. This is because they were not identified or urged to study those subjects in school. Bayer USA Executive Director Rebecca Lucore says its study produced results similar to the AAUW research. She says the survey showed there is still a lot of work to be done. Rebecca Lucore notes that students say their interest in science begins before the age of eleven. So it is important to have science programs for students in elementary school. Why is it so important for girls and women to be involved in science? Christianne Corbett has one answer. She says increasing diversity in professions leads to better products, and better science. Expanding and developing this science and engineering workforce is important for the nations productivity and competitiveness. Rebecca Lucore says scientific professions need more and better workers. She says all citizens should understand science. And she says it is important for everyone in the workforce to be able to think creatively, work in teams and adapt to change. And thats the VOA Special English Education Report. Is science a popular field of study for girls in your country? You can comment at our Web site at voaspecialenglish.com. You can also find us on Facebook. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 1Apr2010)
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