Women of Color in STEM Resources

This is a compilation of resources on the specific intersection of gender and ethnicity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Women of Color Research Network
Supported by the National Institutes of Health Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, the WoCRn is a new social media site for women of color and members of the biomedical workforce interested in supporting diversity in the scientific workforce. The primary goal of WoCRn is to serve as an instrument of outreach to promote community and networking, provide information and facilitate access to colleagues and mentors who can provide advice on career development such as help in navigating the NIH grants process.

Women of Color in the Academy Project
The Women of Color in the Academy Project (WOCAP) was founded by a group of female faculty of color at the University in 1994 to: Highlight the contributions women of color make to the university community and to society at large; Build a campus-wide network of women of color faculty that serves as a support system for their research undertakings, academic career development, and enhanced career satisfaction, thus supporting their retention; To advocate on behalf of women of color faculty and graduate students by working collectively for progressive institutional change with the goal of creating healthy and equitable environments in which to engage in scholarly activity; and, To serve as a model for future recruitment and retention programs for women of color faculty at the national and international level.

Brilliant and Beautiful Foundation
The Brilliant and Beautiful Foundation (BBF) supports the aspirations of women in scientific research and scientific enterprise. BBF provides educational, leadership, and mentorship opportunities for women pursuing careers in science. BBF supports the legacy of innovation, enterprise, leadership, and mentorship inspired by its founders Drs. Tiffani Bailey Lash and Tashni Dubroy.


Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia
Held in June 2012 this conference presented data on women of color in science, engineering and medicine in academia and discussed the challenges and successful initiatives for creating the institutional changes required to increase representation of this subset of women in the academic workforce.

STEM Women of Color Conclave
This annual conference provides a national forum in which women of color in institutions of higher education can form the collective intelligence necessary for building a national network, harnessing a centralized body of knowledge and best practices related to women of color and promoting the personal and professional development of women of color in the academy. The participants have the opportunity to address the special challenges facing women of color in the academy in STEM fields where they are underrepresented at every faculty level.

Women of Color STEM Conference
The Women of Color STEM Conference recognizes outstanding women in the STEM fields. It provides excellent opportunities for professional development, networking, and recruiting. Hosted by Career Communications Group Inc.’s Women of Color Magazine and Northrop Grumman Corporation, the conference is focused on the development of STEM women and ensures that the superior achievements and importance of these outstanding women in STEM are highly visible to all conference participants.

Advancing the Status of Diverse Women in STEM
The conference aimed to connect and support the advancement of women of color in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, regionally and nationally, especially at HBCUs; and to address research related to issues and challenges for diverse women in the STEM disciplines, especially those faculty who were displaced as a result of Hurricane Katrina. It continued the national conversation that began with the 2006 conference.


Faculty women of color: The critical nexus of race and gender
This study provides results of a qualitative analysis from focus groups of women of color in various academic positions in major public research universities. The study underscores the need for institutional renewing and expanding of a commitment to diversity and for disseminating knowledge about campus-wide opportunities. The faculty who were surveyed suggested that the climate on campuses after affirmative action cases (Gratz and Grutter) is more negative than before the cases. As a result of the focus group formation, women of color from across campus were able to form an informal network which allowed for the sharing of knowledge and experiences.
(C.S.V. Turner, J.C GonzÁlez, K. Wong , Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, December 2011)

Symposium: Unraveling the Double Bind: Women of Color in STEM
From the editors of the Harvard Educational Review, this special issue focuses on women of color.
(Harvard Educational Review, Summer 2011)

The Double Bind: The Next Generation
In this foreword, Shirley Malcom and Lindsey Malcom speak to the history and current status of women of color in STEM fields. As the author of the seminal report The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science, Shirley Malcom is uniquely poised to give us an insightful perspective on the development of this field over the last thirty-five years.
(L. Malcom, S. Malcom, Harvard Educational Review, June 2011)

Unique Challenges for Women of Color in STEM Transferring from Community Colleges to Universities
In this article, the author presents the issues faced by women of color in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math as they transfer from community colleges to universities. Through interviews conducted with participants in the National Science Foundation–funded Futurebound program, Reyes reveals an atmosphere in which women of color transfer students experience attitudes and treatment signaling that they do not belong because of age, ethnicity, and gender as well as preconceptions that transfer students are not adequately prepared.
(M-E. Reyes, Harvard Educational Review, June 2011)

Pipelines and Pathways: Women of Color in Undergraduate STEM Majors and the College Experiences That Contribute to Persistence
In this quantitative study, Espinosa examines the effect of precollege characteristics, college experiences, and institutional setting on the persistence of undergraduate women of color in STEM majors and also investigates how this pathway might differ for women of color in comparison to their White peers.
(L. Espinosa, Harvard Educational Review, June 2011)

Beyond the Double Bind: Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
This is a three-year empirical research study funded by the National Science Foundation. Initiated in August 2009, it will analyze written and oral narratives—or life stories—of women of color in STEM.
(M. Ong, A. Hodari)

Inside the Double Bind
This project conducted extensive searches of web databases, libraries, organizations' collections, and private collections to find empirical research that focused on women of color in STEM in higher education and careers. Findings published in, Inside the Double Bind: A Synthesis of Empirical Research on Undergraduate and Graduate Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
(M. Ong, C. Wright, L. Espinosa, G. Orfield, Harvard Educational Review, June 2011)

Retention of Women of Color in STEM Doctoral Programs
This qualitative study analyzed the factors that lead to doctoral STEM persistence, considering both gender and ethnicity. The following themes emerged as most salient to the participant’s persistence: financial, socialization (peer and faculty), motivation (preference for long-term goals and degree completion), group affiliation and external support systems.
(M. Soto, C. Yao, Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education, Michigan State University, September 2010)

A Double Bind: Minority Women Scientists in Europe
This article addresses the situation for women from underrepresented minority groups in Europe. The author spoke with several minority women--most of them African immigrants or of African heritage and draws a striking conclusion that in contrast to the United States, where young scientists speak about race and gender discrimination quite openly, such discussions aren't considered appropriate for polite company in Europe.
(E. Pain, Science, February 2009)

When N=1-2: Justice, Privacy and Women of Color in Science
Research with small populations raises concerns about privacy. Donna Nelson’s data set of the population in science departments in the U.S. demonstrated once more that women of color in academic science are a very small population. Using Nelson’s data as a departure point, issues of rights, justice and privacy of women of color are explored.
(A. Ginorio, Presented at the National Women's Studies Association Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH, June 2008)

Sense of Belonging among Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Majors: Investigating the Contributions of Campus Racial Climate Perceptions and other College Environments
This study examined the relationship between campus racial climate perceptions and other college environments to sense of belonging among undergraduate women of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors. The conceptual framework combined two college impact models, Weidman's (1989) model of undergraduate socialization and Astin's (1991) input-environment-outcome model, with a transformative perspective (Mertens, 2005) to examine sense of belonging among women of color in STEM majors. Results from two-way ANOVAs revealed that women of color reported a less strong sense of belonging than White/Caucasian women and had more interactions with diverse peers than White/Caucasian women.
(D. Johnson, Dissertation, University of Maryland, November 2007)

Advancement of Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Disciplines
This paper identifies several of the unique barriers faced by women of color in STEM disciplines. Although numerous impediments are present, stereotyping, bicultural stress, and tokenism are discussed.  These barriers ultimately affect the extent to which women of color advance to tenure, receive research funding, obtain leadership positions, and remain in long-term faculty and leadership positions. Solutions to overcoming these barriers lie primarily in awareness, understanding, and training of women of color and the administrators, faculty, and STEM management involved in advancing their status.
(P. Obiomon, V. Tickles, A. Wowo, S. Holland-Hunt, Presented at the Advancing Women and the Underrepresented in the Academy Symposium, Johnson C. Smith University, November 2007)

Understanding the Science Experiences of Successful Women of Color: Science Identity as an Analytic Lens
In this study, the authors developed a model of science identity to make sense of the science experiences of 15 successful women of color over the course of their undergraduate and graduate studies in science and into science-related careers. Primary data included ethnographic interviews during students‘ undergraduate careers, follow-up interviews 6 years later, and ongoing member-checking. Their results highlight the importance of recognition by others for women in the three science identity trajectories: research scientist; altruistic scientist; and disrupted scientist. This study clarifies theoretical conceptions of science identity, promotes a rethinking of recruitment and retention efforts, and illuminates various ways women of color experience, make meaning of, and negotiate the culture of science.
(H. Carlone, A. Johnson, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, October 2007)

Why (Some) Women of Color are (Still) in Science: What we can and should do
This paper argues that college and university science departments face a moral imperative to reform cultural structures that support relationships of moral subordination. A moral injustice affects the success of women in science. Reversing these inequities is also good for science. New research that women of color explicitly look for altruistic applications for their interest in science is presented.
(K. Norlock, A. Johnson, S. Anderson, Presented at the National Women's Studies Association Annual Meeting, St. Charles, IL, June 2007)

Unintended Consequences: How Science Professors Discourage Women of Color
This study examined how 16 Black, Latina, and American Indian women science students reacted to their undergraduate science classes. The author focused on the meanings they made of the common features of university science documented by Seymour and Hewitt (1997), including large, competitive, fast-paced classes, poor teaching, and an unsupportive culture. The author also explored their responses to the values manifested in their science classes and laboratories and interviewed the participants and attended science classes and laboratories with them, finding that the students were negatively impacted by two cultural values: a narrow focus on decontextualized science and the construction of science as a gender-, ethnicity and race-neutral meritocracy.
(A. Johnson, Published online in Wiley InterScience, March 2007)

Building Capital through Communities at the Margins: Young Women of Color in Science
Participant observation and annual in-depth interviews with ten young women of color aspiring physicists over an eight-year period challenge a standard application of Bourdieu’s framework of social and cultural capital. The study found that although the students initially lacked the traditional capital of “acceptable” appearance, cultural backgrounds, and networks needed to succeed in physics, these postsecondary high achievers gained alternative forms of capital through participation in groups at the margins of their local physics community. The outcomes offer empirical confirmation of the critical need for informal and institutionally-supported women’s and minority support groups in order to increase diversity in science
(M. Ong, Revised version of a paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 2004)

Faculty Science Positions Continue to Elude Women of Color: Oklahoma Professor's Study Finds Hiring, Tenure Remain Stumbling Blocks
This paper examines the findings of Dr. Donna Nelson, University of Oklahoma, who conducted an exhaustive look at the status of women and minorities in 14 science and engineering disciplines at the nation's top 50 departments.
(K.Hamilton, Black Issues in Higher Education, March 2004)

Women of Color: Numbers Are Low and Not Increasing, but Hope Rests in New Strategies for Improvement
This articles summarizes the strategies for increasing the representation of women of color on academic faculties presented by Georgia Institute of Technology Associate Professor of Public Policy Cheryl Leggon at the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2004 Annual Meeting in Seattle. Leggon spoke as part of a panel discussion titled "Nearly Invisible: Experiences of Minority Science Faculty in Mainstream Institutions".
(J. Sanders, Georgia Research Tech News, February 2004)

The Joys and Struggles of Women of Color in Academia
This article summarizes the Women of Color in Academia panel presentation held at the Stanford Women's Community Center in 2002.
(L. Harrison, Science, February 2002)

The Lives and Careers of Minority Women Scientists
This work presents the initial provisional results of a larger research project on how and why all underrepresented minorities in the University of California System who received Ph.D.s between 1980 and 1990 in science and engineering succeeded in doing so, and whether the careers of these graduates correspond to their training and aspiration. It is based on interviews conducted with minority women scientists from Berkeley to give dimension to the experience of minority women, to present the multiplicity of answers which individual women find for themselves.
(A. MacLachlan, Presented at the National Association of Women in Education Conference, New Orleans, LA, January 2000)

Perspectives of Women of Color in Science-Based Education and Careers
This paper is a summary of issues and recommendations identified by participants at the conference, ‘Diversity in Science: Perspectives on the Retention of Minority Women in Science, Engineering, and Health-Care Professions.’
(Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, National Research Council, Summary of the Conference on Diversity in Science, October 1995)

The Effect of Wider Participation among Women of Color on Science Teaching and Science Teacher Education
This paper focuses on ways that the wider inclusion and representation among women of color in science education may affect science teacher education theory and practice and science education for students at all levels of the educational spectrum.
(S. Hines, Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 1994)

The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science
This landmark report summarizes a conference of thirty minority women in science, engineering, medicine, and dentistry that was held in December 1975, with the support of the National Science Foundation. In addition to a general discussion of the conference and the conferees, topics include: the precollegiate experience, collegiate and professional education, career experience, the diversity of race and culture, and recommendations, programs, and conclusions.
(S. Malcolm, P. Hall, J. Brown, AAAS Publication, Report of a Conference of Minority Women Scientists, April 1976

Science Articles by Women of Color in STEM:


African American Women Chemists
This book contains sketches of the lives of African America women chemists from the earliest pioneers up until the late 1960's when the Civil Rights Acts were passed and greater career opportunities began to emerge. In each sketch, Brown will explore women's motivation to study the field and detail their often quite significant accomplishments. Chapters focus on chemists in academia, industry, and government, as well as chemical engineers, whose career path is very different from that of the tradition chemist. The book concludes with a chapter on the future of African American women chemists, which will be of interest to all women interested in science.
(J. Brown, 2011, Oxford University Press)

From Oppression to Grace - Women of Color and Their Dilemmas within the Academy
This book gives voice to the experiences of women of color--women of African, Native American, Latina, East Indian, Korean and Japanese descent--as students pursuing terminal degrees and as faculty members navigating the Academy, grappling with the dilemmas encountered by others and themselves as they exist at the intersections of their work and identities.
(T.R. Berry, N. Mizelle, 2006, Stylus Publishing)

Sisters in Science: Conversations with Black Women Scientists on Race, Gender, and Their Passion for Science
This is the first book of interviews with prominent black women scientists across the United States. These black women scientists are pioneers in their chosen scientific profession and represent a broad spectrum of disciplines, ages, and geographical locations. Each interview allows the reader to delve into the soul of the scientist, to experience her challenges, and to witness her triumphs despite obstacles.
(D. Jordan, 2006, Purdue University Press)