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Press Release 07-13-2022

EEOC Issues Report on Women in STEM Jobs in the Federal Sector

Results Show Women Accounted for 29.3% of STEM Federal Workers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a report on the participation and experiences of women who work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) within the federal government. Although there has been a great deal of focus on women in STEM in the private sector, little has been reported on the diversity and experiences of women working in STEM in the federal sector. The main findings from the report include:

  • Overall, women accounted for 29.3% of STEM federal workers. Science occupations had the most (49,546), while math occupations in the federal sector had the fewest number of women (6,469).
  • A total of 16,454 women served in leadership roles, compared to 47,167 men. Only 25.9% of all STEM leaders were women.
  • The overall average age of women in STEM occupations in the federal sector was 45.5 years, compared to an average age of 47.4 years for men.
  • Most of the women working in STEM in the federal sector were White (66.02%). By comparison, 14.58% were African American or Black, 9.76% Asian, 6.42% Hispanic or Latina, 0.97% American Indian/Alaska Native, and 0.28% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
  • Approximately 10.7% of women working in STEM were individuals with disabilities.
  • In FY 2019, there were 34,483 women counseled and 14,096 female federal employees who decided to file formal complaints.
  • Despite the popular belief that sexual harassment is the foremost type of discrimination raised by women, generalized harassment was a larger issue in FY 2019—with 1,986 complaints filed, compared to 358 complaints for sexual harassment.
  • There was a strong relationship between women’s intentions to leave their current agency and complaint activity; the more sex-related complaint activity, the more likely women were to state an intention to leave.
  • Women’s belief that their supervisors were committed to a diverse workforce was significantly related to fewer numbers of individuals receiving counseling and to fewer formal complainants.
  • After taking pay into account, women were about 40% less likely to work in engineering, 33% more likely to work in math, and nearly 92% more likely to work in science than in technology jobs.

“There were significantly fewer women in technology and engineering than we expected. Clearly, the federal government shares the same challenges as the private sector in improving representation of women in STEM occupations,” said Director Carlton Hadden of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations. “We hope this report helps federal agencies better understand the challenges facing women in STEM so they can continue to foster an even more welcoming and diverse work environment.”

The EEOC gathered and analyzed information from numerous federal sources, including: (1) OPM’s Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) data; (2) EEOC Form 462 (EEO complaint) data; and (3) select OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) responses. The EEOC combined the data to form several datasets, which researchers then analyzed to learn about these employees.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.