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Employment discrimination rampant in STEM fields

Technology and science industries are rapidly advancing across much of California, but some people insist that they are being left out. Despite millions of new jobs in science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM -- minorities tend to be underrepresented in these fields. Many claim that this is not due to a lack of qualified candidates, but because of employment discrimination.

STEM positions encompass a wide range of jobs, including engineers, computer programmers and lab technicians. However, many women have a difficult time obtaining such positions even when they are well-qualified for the job. Data suggests that it is actually more difficult for women to get and maintain employment in computer science now than it was back the early 1990s. Currently, one in four computer science positions is held by a woman, whereas that number was one in three in 1990. Sexual harassment is also a rampant issue for women in STEM, with one in five reporting workplace sexual harassment.

Black STEM workers also struggle with finding gainful employment in their field. Many of these workers suffer ongoing discrimination, with their chief complaints usually centering around how co-workers treat them. Far more often than their white peers, black men and women employed in STEM fields are treated as though they are not competent at their jobs.

Workers in STEM fields also tend to earn more than people with similar education levels working in different fields, and locking women and minorities out of these positions contributes to the troubling pay gap between these workers and white men. California workers who have suffered the ill-effects of employment discrimination can take action to address these issues. Workplace discrimination suits are often successful at both achieving related compensation for victims, and affecting company or policy change that protects future workers.

Source: psmag.com, "Most Women and African Americans in Tech Say They've Been Discriminated Against", Francie Deip, Jan. 11, 2018

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