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Gender equity issues in CTE and STEM education (Toglia 2013)

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    Evidence Rating

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Toglia, T. (2013). Gender equity issues in CTE and STEM education. TechDirections, 72, 14-18.


  • This article summarized current gender equity issues in career and technical education (CTE) as well as in STEM fields for high school and college students.
  • Using findings from various other published studies, the author discussed the progression of the Carl D. Perkins Act of 1984, which required states to employ a sex equity coordinator to mitigate gender bias and stereotypes, over the past three decades, and how it has affected women’s involvement in nontraditional careers, such as electrical work and plumbing. The study also briefly summarized other gender equity trends in CTE and STEM fields, including why women choose to not work in CTE and STEM fields and how gender disparities in various industries can be detrimental to society at large.
  • The author found that the Perkins Act and its various reauthorizations had aimed to improve female participation in nontraditional career fields, but lack of funds limited the legislation’s influence. The author also identified additional factors influencing women’s career choices—including gender-role socialization, socioeconomic status, parents’ education level and expectations for their daughters, and advice from guidance counselors—as perpetuating gender disparities in these fields. The author concluded that gender disparities in STEM and CTE careers can lead to an underdevelopment of human resources and capital at the societal level.
  • The study concluded with a list of suggested strategies to counter existing gender inequities in CTE and STEM, including offering mentoring programs to provide female students with role models in CTE fields, removing gender-biased images or messaging from textbooks and other educational materials, increasing parental education on nontraditional career options for women, and training guidance counselors to address gender equity issues.

Reviewed by CLEAR

September 2015