With the recent successful test launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, the world has seen a demonstration of technical advances in the aerospace arena. It has also created a rise in interest in science related subjects among young people. So how are minorities doing in these areas of science?
In the United States it is called (STEM), which is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. So where do minorities stand when it comes to STEM related fields of study and careers?
According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank, women and racial minorities face extreme levels of discrimination in science and technology fields. The study found that nearly 62 percent of blacks (men and women) reported racially motivated discrimination. At the same time, 44 percent of Asians and 42 percent of Hispanics felt they were targeted for their race. When whites were asked the same question, 13 percent reported feelings of discrimination due to race.
In the areas of higher education the study found that Blacks and Hispanics continue to be underrepresented in STEM at Americas top universities. These percentages are at odds with the belief that minority underrepresentation in STEM is merely a reflection of demographics in the population.
In the workforce, Blacks account for 9 percent of the STEM jobs, while Hispanics make up 7 percent of STEM jobs. Clearly, Blacks and Hispanics are still underemployed in these fields compared to overall workforce numbers.
In addition, more than 70 percent of Black STEM workers, and 43 percent of Hispanic STEM workers claim the lack of minority representation in STEM jobs is in part due to discrimination during recruitment, hiring and the promotion process.
While the interest in STEM related fields seems to be growing, the data are showing that there are still obstacles that minorities will have to face if they want to get into these fields.