The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Elky Almaraz


Hispanic women comprise approximately eight percent of the United States’ population and represent the largest group of minority women. However, Hispanic women only make up approximately two percent of the science and engineering workforce. In contrast, Caucasian women form approximately one-third of the United States’ population and eighteen percent of the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) workforce. Hispanic women begin a post-secondary education in STEM fields with a proportional interest to other gender or racial groups. However, they are far less likely to continue the coursework and ultimately earn a degree than their non-minority classmates. Schools and education officials need to be more cognizant of the unique issues which underrepresented groups, such as Hispanic women, potentially face when they pursue STEM fields. STEM fields are complex disciplines regardless of one’s race or gender, but the possibility of prejudice, discrimination, or lack of resources makes studying STEM subjects much more difficult for Hispanic women. Many factors contribute to the underrepresentation of Hispanic women in STEM fields, such as: psychological tendencies, sex-based discrimination, income-based disparities, deficiency of suitable environments in STEM departments, and more. The STEM fields have seen numerous improvements to help Hispanic women pursuing opportunities in the fields, but those are not enough. There must be a continuous revelation of the true roots of these problems. There is a need to allocate specific allotments of funding to programs specifically designed to help Hispanic women thrive in STEM. It is important to not only increase the quantity of Hispanic women in STEM but to also improve the quality of their studies and careers.

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St. Mary's University School of Law



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