Academic fields that fall under science, technology, engineering and mathematics have a significantly lower ratio of women compared to men. That’s why universities and companies throughout Delaware are stepping up their recruiting efforts. For the women already in STEM fields, however, they often face a pattern of harassment and discrimination that impacts their careers and professional fulfillment. Not only do they make less money, but they are also subject to mistreatment in their jobs.

Studies are showing the impact that pervasive discrimination has on women in the field. This may have the unintended effect of keeping them out of a field where their presence sorely needed. The discrimination that women face in STEM fields can be both overt and covert. Specific research into some Ph.D. disciplines has numerically demonstrated the challenges that women face. They make an average of over $1,500 less than their male colleagues and they carry an average of over $4,000 more in student debt.

In addition, women deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. This problem extends to both female students and professors. Since it leads to lower job satisfaction and commitment, the issue ends up being self-defeating and keeping the STEM field dominated by men.

Any type of harassment or discrimination based on gender in the workplace is against the law. Those who experience prejudice while on the job may want to take legal action. Not only is the person who commits the act liable, but the organization that employs them could be potentially be held liable. A worker can consult with an attorney to find out if they may have a legal cause of action.