Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen


Since 1990, the percentage of women in STEM in the United States has not increased (Landivar, 2013). Women make up only 24% of the STEM workforce whereas they make up around 50% of the workforce across all occupations (Beede et al., 2011). Thus, there is a deficit of women in STEM. Much of the research available addressing this concern is focused on what interests women in STEM. Very little research is available with women truly working in STEM fields or addressing the retention of women in STEM. In the current study, I investigated factors that may play a role in the retention of women in STEM. I hypothesized that there would be differences in communal goal endorsement, career adaptability, stereotype threat, sexual harassment, and work satisfaction between women who remain in STEM and those who departed from STEM. Data was collected via self-report survey from 212 women currently or previously in STEM. Multivariate analysis was used to examine the hypotheses. Overall, the MANCOVA was not significant, indicating that women who remained in STEM were not different than women who departed from STEM in terms of the hypothesized variables of communal goals, career adaptability, stereotype threat, sexual harassment, or job satisfaction. However, rich information regarding women’s experiences of sexual harassment in STEM was gained. Practical and research implications are discussed.




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