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The number of women entering the professional fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is slowly growing around the world, but there is still a sizable gender gap in these professions. According to the College Board, which produces many standardized tests, only 27 percent of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the United States are women. Similarly, just 18 percent of American computer-science degrees are attained by females. However, this is not the case elsewhere in the world. A paper by Gijsbert Stoet and David Geary published in Psychological Science noted that women who live in countries with traditionally higher gender inequality tend to choose STEM professions more readily. Algeria, for example, has one of the highest ratios of women in STEM professions, at 41 percent. Stoet and Geary surmise that women in these countries may be choosing careers with the strongest path to financial independence.
According to a U.S. Department of Education report, students studying science or math in college have a higher employment rate and salary than other majors after graduation. STEM majors typically earn an average of $15,500 more annually than non-STEM majors. Engineering and engineering technology tends to pay the most. Women eager to secure competitive, stable and well-paying jobs should carefully consider the opportunities available to them in STEM fields.