Ong, M., Wright, C., Espinosa, L., & Orfield, G. (2011). Inside the double bind: A synthesis of empirical research on undergraduate and graduate women of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Harvard Educational Review, 81(2), 172-208.
- The study examined existing empirical research on the challenges that minority women have faced in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels, emphasizing factors that promote or discourage retention and transition to employment or further study.
- The authors analyzed 116 empirical studies conducted from 1970 to 2008 that examine aspects of the academic and career experiences of minority women in STEM disciplines, identifying the findings of each study and synthesizing these features to pinpoint trends and opportunities for further investigation.
- The authors summarized the studies’ conclusions regarding the effects of academic climate, enrichment programs, self-confidence, and relationships with faculty, peers, and family on minority women’s persistence in undergraduate STEM majors, highlighting lack of recognition from peers and faculty members and complex family expectations and dynamics as factors that hinder them from completing STEM degrees.
- At the graduate level, many of the same influences, particularly family expectations and fraught relationships with peers and professors, present challenges for minority women in STEM disciplines. Academic and social transitions from minority-serving institutions to predominantly white institutions and the financial demands of graduate study also represent cross-cutting obstacles.